Rory McIlroy reacts after wrapping up the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.
Rory McIlroy reacts after wrapping up the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida. Gregory Shamus

McIlroy hangs on as Day fades

RORY McIlroy has survived a dramatic final round to win the $17.6m Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Former world No.1 McIlroy bounced back from an early double-bogey to post a two-under-par 70 and, at 16 under, won by one shot from Jim Furyk (67), with Eddie Pepperell (66) and Jhonattan Vegas (66) sharing third at 14 under.

The 29-year-old McIlroy collected a $3.18m payday for his TPC Sawgrass victory while recording his 15th win on the PGA Tour, which includes four major championships.

McIlroy made the turn in one-over and traded the lead several times before putting the foot down with birdies at the par-5 11th and driveable par-4 12th.

He then responded to a bogey at the 14th with a pair of birdies at 15 and 16.

The Northern Irishman stood on the 72nd tee with a one-shot lead but banished any nerves when he smashed a 288-yard drive down the fairway and stiffed his approach to 15 feet. McIlroy two-putted for a par, with his victory elevating him two spots on the world rankings to No.4.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 17: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Jason Day of Australia shake hands after finishing on the 18th green during the final round of The PLAYERS Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 17, 2019 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy and Jason Day shake hands. Richard Heathcote

Meanwhile, Jason Day started the final round three shots from the lead but a disappointing 72 left the 2016 Players winner at 12 under and tied for eighth.

A shot back of Day was fellow Australian Adam Scott, with the 2004 Players winner posting a final-round 70 to share 12th at 11 under.

Cameron Smith rounds out the Australian contingent and the world No.24 signed for a 71 to finish golf's unofficial fifth major with a two-under total.

Tiger Woods signed off with a 69 to sit at six under in a tie for 30th.

The Players Championship is the PGA Tour's flagship tournament and its prize is the richest on the US circuit.