SPORTS

McIlroy hits eagle to clinch 1st win of season at Irish Open

  • Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy watches the flight of his tee shot on the 11th hole during day four of the Irish Open at The K Club, Straffan, Ireland, Sunday May 22, 2016. (Brian Lawless / PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES

    Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy watches the flight of his tee shot on the 11th hole during day four of the Irish Open at The K Club, Straffan, Ireland, Sunday May 22, 2016. (Brian Lawless / PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES  (The Associated Press)

  • Scotland's Russell Knox reacts after missing a putt on the 13th hole during day four of the Irish Open at The K Club, in Straffan, Ireland, Sunday May 22, 2016. (Brian Lawless / PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES

    Scotland's Russell Knox reacts after missing a putt on the 13th hole during day four of the Irish Open at The K Club, in Straffan, Ireland, Sunday May 22, 2016. (Brian Lawless / PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES  (The Associated Press)

  • Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts after missing his putt on the 13th hole during day four of the Irish Open at The K Club, in Straffan, Ireland, Sunday May 22, 2016. (Brian Lawless / PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES

    Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts after missing his putt on the 13th hole during day four of the Irish Open at The K Club, in Straffan, Ireland, Sunday May 22, 2016. (Brian Lawless / PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES  (The Associated Press)

Rory McIlroy struck an eagle on the final hole to clinch his first victory of the season Sunday at the Irish Open, his home tournament where he's famously struggled over the years.

McIlroy's three-stroke victory over Scotland's Russell Knox and Bradley Dredge of Wales wasn't smooth sailing. But the third-ranked McIlroy prevailed with a 3-under 69, thanks to superior driving power that allowed him to birdie the K Club's first three par-5 holes — then demolish the competition with his final powerful approach shot.

His 253-meter (276-yard) second strike on the 18th landed within three feet of the pin as thousands roared their approval.

McIlroy had failed to make the Irish Open cut since 2011. His previous best finish was seventh in 2008, his first professional year.