Rory McIlroy is 7/1 to win the US Open next month after targeting a summer of success following his stunning finish to win the Irish Open for the first time at The K Club.
McIlroy was in danger of blowing a three-shot lead after 54 holes for the second time this season after Scotland's Russell Knox carded four birdies and an eagle in the first 15 holes of a dramatic final round interrupted twice by hailstorms and torrential rain.
However, the world number three then birdied the par-five 16th as Knox three-putted and, after lipping out for birdie on the 17th, fired a stunning approach from 252 yards to within three feet of the hole on the 18th for a closing eagle.
The resulting 69 meant McIlroy finished three shots clear of Knox and Wales' Bradley Dredge to claim the first prize of £515,000, which he will donate to his own foundation which hosted the tournament for the second year.
“It means a lot for my summer,” said McIlroy, who failed to convert a similar position in the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March. “It's nice to get that first win of the year. I kept telling myself, kept telling anyone that would listen, my game was close. It was just a matter of everything clicking. Maybe those last three holes is the catalyst for another big summer.”
McIlroy is the second favourite for the US Open, behind 11/2 shot Jason Day, and is the 6/1 joint-favourite to win The Open along with Jordan Spieth.
The 27-year-old, who won four times in 2014 including two majors and a maiden WGC title, added: “I really feel like my game is in good enough shape to kick on from here and to challenge in the three final majors, and obviously everything else we have to play for this year, Olympics, Ryder Cup, Race to Dubai, FedEx Cup.”