Rory McIlroy has returned to the top of the world rankings for the first time since September, after winning the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges.
The Northern Irishman started the final round two shots behind 54-hole leader Justin Thomas, but a closing 67 was enough to get him to 17-under-par and a one-shot victory.
It is the 14th PGA Tour win of McIlroy’s career and takes him back to the top of the world rankings, ahead of Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas.
The victory also means that McIlroy has now won at least one PGA Tour event in each of the last 10 seasons.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been No.1 in the world,” said McIlroy. “I’ve worked hard to get back to this position and it feels great to be back at the top.
“I’ve had an exceptional year so far and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
McIlroy got off to a flying start in his final round, picking up birdies at the second, third and fourth holes to move into a tie for the lead.
He then made a clutch pad save at the fifth to keep his momentum going, before Thomas regained the lead with a birdie at the sixth.
McIlroy responded with a birdie of his own at the seventh to tie Thomas at 16-under, and that is how it stayed until the back nine.
Thomas looked to be in control with birdies at the 10th and 11th to move two shots clear, but McIlroy kept him honest with a birdie at the 12th.
The crucial moment came at the par-3 16th, where Thomas found the water with his tee shot and made a double-bogey six, while McIlroy made a routine par to take a one-shot lead.
Both players then parred the 17th, before Thomas found the water again at the last and made a bogey, while McIlroy safely two-putted for par to seal the victory.
“It was a tough day out there,” said McIlroy. “Justin played some great golf early on and I was just trying to hang in there.
“I made a couple of clutch par saves on the front nine and then I could take advantage of his mistakes on the back nine.
“It feels great to get back to No.1 in the world and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
McIlroy will now turn his attention to the upcoming FedExCup Playoffs, where he will look to add to his haul of four PGA Tour wins this season.