No. 1 McIlroy wins for third time in four tournaments

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CARMEL, Ind. -- Rory McIlroy beat the strongest leader board in golf this year Sunday in the BMW Championship and joined some elite company.

McIlroy made back-to-back birdies at the turn to break a four-way tie and seize control at Crooked Stick. He closed with a 5-under-par 67, making his only bogey on the final hole when it no longer mattered, for a 20-under 268 total and a two-shot victory over Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood in the third leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Everyone knew Boy Wonder was special when he won the U.S. Open last summer with a record score. The last month has established him as the dominant player in golf, with three wins in four tournaments loaded with the best players -- the PGA Championship and two FedEx Cup playoff events.

McIlroy became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour, and with his sixth career win, he joined Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win at least six times at age 23.

"I didn't think everything would happen so quickly, but I'm on a good run at the minute and I want to keep it going as long as I can," McIlroy said.

Mickelson and Westwood tried to chase him down on the back nine at Crooked Stick, only to make mistakes when they couldn't afford any.

Westwood, who lost to McIlroy in the semifinals of the Match Play Championship in February, caught him with a birdie on the par-3 13th. But the weak area of his game showed up at the wrong time -- a poor chip on the 14th for bogey, another pedestrian chip on the par-5 15th that led to par. He wound up with a 69. "I played with him when he was 13, and you could see it then," Westwood said. "He's just maturing all the time, as he will do. And he's a very, very good player."

Mickelson, tied for the lead going into the final round, was one shot behind when his approach flew the green on No. 12 and he had to scramble for bogey. Mickelson made back-to-back birdies late in the round to get within two shots of the lead, but he badly missed a 3-foot par putt on the 17th to fall three shots behind. He closed with a 70.

"A lot of people stayed neutral and Rory geared ahead," Mickelson said.

Woods was never seriously in the mix. Five shots behind with seven holes to play, he made three late birdies and shot 68 to tie for fourth with Robert Garrigus (69).

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McIlroy's work is not done.

He is the No. 1 seed going into the FedEx Cup finale in two weeks at East Lake, but any of the top five seeds can win the Tour Championship and capture the FedEx Cup with its $10-million bonus. The other four seeds are Woods, Nick Watney, Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker.

"Rory is putting on a show out there," Woods said. "And we've got one more tournament . . . He's going out there and is up near the lead and posts a good number. He's doing the things he needs to do, and as he said yesterday, he's feeling very confident about his game. Right now he's just really played well, and he's making a ton of putts. That's a great combo."

McIlroy earned $1.44 million, pushing him to over $7.8 million to effectively lock up the money title and all but assure being voted by his peers as the PGA Tour player of the year.

Creamer, Shin in playoff

A playoff between Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin in the LPGA Tour's Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va., has been suspended after eight holes because of darkness. Each finished regulation at 16-under 268 and each of the eight playoff holes were parred.

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