Rory McIlroy’s stunning finish to secure his maiden Irish Open title in May has been recognised by the European Tour, awarding his approach to the final hole as the shot of the year.
The Holywood native fought back on the back nine at the K Club to snatch the title from Scotland’s Russell Knox, following a simply stunning display of nerve and shot selection coming down the straight at the 2006 Ryder Cup venue.
Trailing by a shot coming down the par-five 16th hole, McIlroy risked the entire tournament with his second shot as he attempted to reach the green in two, with the majority of the field laying up all week due to the tricky approach across the water to the very narrow putting surface.
In fact, that shot on the 16th, which McIlroy executed with perfection, drilling his three wood over 250 yards safely onto the green, could easily have been named shot of the year, with McIlroy himself acknowledging that it was a tougher shot than what followed on 18.
McIlroy from 271 yards. https://t.co/9uEqWgUuK9— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 22, 2016
As a result of a birdie on the 16th, with leader Knox making bogey, McIlroy took the lead and held it as he made his way down the final hole.
Remarkably, McIlroy found himself with a similar yardage into the par five finishing hole and again opted for the risk and reward strategy that had served him well at 16.
What followed was, again, McIlroy at his brilliant best, as this time, the five wood was procured from caddy JP Fitzgerald and played with perfection into the finishing green with the ball finally finishing just a few feet from the hole.
The eagle putt was dispatched and the host secured the tournament, which meant so much to McIlroy, explaining afterwards about the joy of winning his own tournament in front of all his family and friends.
Speaking after the victory, McIlroy told RTÉ Sport: "It's right up there. I'm not sure I have ever hit a shot like that from that distance, to basically seal a golf tournament. That's a shot that I'll remember for a long time."
"The Irish Open is a tournament I have grown up dreaming of winning. Coming down to watch it as a kid, playing it as amateur, and now after not a great in the Irish Open, getting my hands on the trophy is incredible.
“And the way that I did it today, I had to dig so, so deep and hit some quality shots down the stretch. Thankfully, I was able to get it done.
“I think it was the fact that I had so many people supporting me this week but also that the people we can help this week because of what I have just done. Whatever the prize money is, it is going all to the foundation and the three charities that benefit from this week."
So here’s a look at the Top Ten shots of 2016, courtesy of the European Tour’s excellent Twitter feed.
1. Rory McIlroy - Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
Officially the 2016 Shot of the Year pic.twitter.com/MndubI1kmq— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 8, 2017
2. Scott Hend - Shenzhen International
3. Brett Rumford - ISPS HANDA Perth International
Number 3 Shot of the Year— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 6, 2017
Brett Rumford's ridiculous bunker shot pic.twitter.com/iVKNlgnWHk
4. Lasse Jensen - Netbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player
5. Andy Sullivan - 100th Open de France
6. Sergio Garcia - BMW International Open
7. Kristoffer Broberg - Lyonness Open powered by Sporthilfe Cashback Card
8. James Morrison - BMW PGA Championship
9. Ricky Fowler - Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship
10. Robert Karlsson - Made in Denmark