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The world is at his feet

sports Updated: Jun 21, 2011 19:41 IST

Rory McIlroy won the US Open by eight shots in record style on Sunday, confirming his rich promise as a potential golfing great by becoming the championship's youngest winner since 1923.

Eight strokes in front overnight, the 22-year-old Northern Irishman maintained ice-cool composure while carding a two-under-par 69 on a humid and overcast day at Congressional Country Club to claim his first major title. After safely parring the last where he two-putted from just off the front of the green, he clenched his right fist and pumped it in celebration as he broke into a smile.

“It's a great feeling,” a beaming McIlroy told reporters after posting a tournament record total of 16-under 268 to leave his nearest challengers trailing in his wake.

“I knew most of the field were going to have a hard time to catch up to the score that I was on so I'm obviously just very happy to win the U.S. Open. And to win it in a bit of style as well is always nice.”

Emerging Australian talent Jason Day fired a 68 to finish alone in second, two strokes better than South Korea's Yang Yong-eun (71), Britain's Lee Westwood (70) and Americans Kevin Chappell (66) and Robert Garrigus (70).

McIlroy, long regarded as a future world number one, eclipsed the U.S. Open scoring record of 12-under set by Tiger Woods at the 2000 U.S. Open.

On a rain-softened course ideally suited to his power game and high ball flight, he also shattered the previous aggregate low of 272 held jointly by Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Janzen and Jim Furyk.

“It's great to get this first major in the bag ... especially after what's happened the last couple of months,” said the mop-haired McIlroy, who banished memories of his stunning Masters meltdown in April.

“I felt like I got over the Masters pretty quickly,” said McIlroy, who will climb to a career-high fourth in the world rankings. “I was very honest with myself and I knew what I needed to do differently. “To be able to finish it off the way I did ... just tells me that I learned from it. Now I've got this, I can concentrate on getting some more (majors).”