Rory McIlory sizzles en route to win at the RBC Canadian Open

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Sunday, June 9, 2019

ANCASTER, Ontario (AP) — Call it the zone, call it the flow. Rory McIlroy is familiar with the feeling that golf is easy, that he can swing freely and nothing bad will happen.

He first felt it at age 16 when he shot 61 at Royal Portrush in his native Northern Ireland, which will host this year's British Open. He experienced it during runaway victories at the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. And he savored it again on Sunday en route to another 61, this one giving him a seven-shot victory in the Canadian Open.

"I think when you play, you get into stretches like this, you do get into some sort of flow, that flow state or in the zone or whatever anyone wants to call it. I definitely got into that a little bit today at the start of the back nine. It was the same that day at Portrush all those years ago," McIlroy said. "It's almost like you're out of your own body and looking at yourself play. For some times today that's how it felt. So if I could bottle that feeling and take it with me week to week, I would. Sort of comes and goes."

McIlroy added the Canadian Open to his schedule for the first time largely because it was moved to the week before the U.S. Open. He turned the major-championship tuneup into a career highlight, becoming the sixth player to win national championships in the U.S., Britain and Canada. Lee Trevino (1971) and Tiger Woods (2000) are the only players to win all three in the same season, something McIlroy could do this year with victories next week at Pebble Beach and at Royal Portrush in July.

It was McIlroy's fifth win in a national open, following the U.S. Open (2011), Australian Open (2013), British Open (2014) and Irish Open (2016). McIlroy also counts the Hong Kong Open (2011) as part of his national-championship tally.