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Rory rallies at Bridgestone to retake No. 1

Rory rallies at Bridgestone to retake No. 1

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GOLF

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — From the links of Britain to the parkland of America, Rory Mcllroy is on top of the world again.

In his first start since a wire-to-wire win at the British Open, Mcllroy wiped out a three-shot deficit in three holes and closed with a 4-under 66 Sunday to win the Bridgestone Invitational and return to No. 1 in the world.

And just like at Royal Liverpool two weeks ago, Boy Wonder made it look easy.

Sergio Garcia had a three-shot lead going into the final round at Firestone. Mcllroy fired off three straight birdies and already had the lead when he stood on the fourth tee. He took over the lead for good with an 8-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole, got some breathing room when Garcia made bogey on the 15th hole, and the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland cruised home to a two-shot victory.

Garcia closed with a 71, though his runner-up finish was enough to move him to No. 3 in the world.

Mcllroy became the 13th player with a major and a World Golf Championship, and joined Tiger Woods as the only players to win them in consecutive starts. Mcllroy heads south to the PGA Championship next week in Valhalla with a full head of steam.

After a brief celebration with the claret jug, he was determined to move forward and chase more titles during the final four months of the year. He backed it up with a powerful performance on a soggy Firestone course to take the top spot in the world from Adam Scott.

Mcllroy finished at 15-under 265 and won $1.4 million, leaving him $765 short of Bubba Watson on the PGA Tour money list.

More important was the world ranking.

He lost the No. 1 position in March 2013 when his game was in a downward spiral as he was adjusting to a new equipment deal and going through another management change. But since he won the BMW PGA Championship in May, his game looks as strong as ever.

"It feels like a long time since I lost that No. 1 spot, but it feels good to be back on top," Mcllroy said. "Hopefully, I can keep it for a while."

Garcia was a runner-up to Mcllroy for the second straight time.

The Spaniard had the daunting task of making up a seven-shot deficit at the British Open, and Garcia put up a great fight until finishing two shots behind at Hoylake. Even with a three-shot lead at Firestone, he didn't fare much better.

Marc Leishman (67) finished alone in third.

Patrick Reed holed out for eagle on No. 17 in his round of 65 to tie for fourth, enough to move him up to No. 7 in the Ryder Cup standings and boost his hopes of making his first team with only the PGA Championship left in the qualifying period.

Phil Mickelson made 10 birdies for a career-best 62 at Firestone.

None of that could top Mcllroy, who put on another exhibition with his driver that made Firestone look like child's play.

"It's the foundation of my game when I drive it like that," Mcllroy said. "I have a pretty good chance to win most weeks, and I've shown that the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, going into Valhalla in good form and I'll try to get three in a row."

In other tournaments:

• Geoff Ogilvy won the Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nevada, after nearly skipping the event following another disappointing finish last week in the Canadian Open.

Ogilvy won his eighth PGA Tour title and first since 2010 at Kapalua, scoring five points with a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-5 13th and pulling away for a five-point victory in the modified Stableford event.

Justin Hicks was second at 44 points after an 18-point day.

• At Blaine, Minnesota,

Kenny Perry scrambled for a birdie on the 18th hole to beat Bernhard Langer by a stroke in the Champions Tour's 3M Championship.

Perry closed with a 7-under 65 for his second victory of the year and seventh overall on the 50-and-older tour.

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