GOLF

Rory McIlroy found his comfort zone at Quail Hollow and left with a trophy he badly needed.

McIlroy closed with a 3-under 68 but made it tough on himself at the end Sunday, driving into the hazard left of the 18th fairway and needing two putts from 45 feet for a one-shot victory in the Wells Fargo Championship at Charlotte, North Carolina.

What mattered was ending 18 months since his last victory in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, along with finding a strong semblance of his game as he prepares to return to Kiawah Island for the PGA Championship.

McIlroy finished at 10-under 274 for his 19th career victory, and his third at Quail Hollow.

“This is one of my favorite places in the world,” said McIlroy, who picked up his first PGA Tour title at Quail Hollow in 2010. “The break the drought and win here, it’s awesome.”

Abraham Ancer ran off three straight birdies and nearly closed with a fourth one, posting a 66 for a runner-up finish, the fourth of his career as the Mexican seeks his first PGA Tour title.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Alex Cejka won the Regions Tradition in only his third PGA Tour Champions start, beating defending champion Steve Stricker with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff in Birmingham, Alabama.

Cejka made a 14-foot birdie putt on No. 18, and Stricker missed a 9-footer with a chance to extend the playoff at Greystone Golf & Country Club in the first of this year’s five majors.

Cejka had turned a three-stroke deficit into a two-shot lead over the final nine holes for a 5-under 67. His winning putt was from a similar spot to the one Stricker made for birdie in regulation to force the playoff.

Stricker, who won the last time the event was held in 2019, closed with a 68 to match Cejka at 18-under 270.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Garrick Higgo made a hole-in-one on his way to a 7-under 64 as he won the Canary Islands Championship in Tenerife, Spain, for his third European Tour title – and second in three weeks.

The 21-year-old South African matched Tiger Woods for the fewest number of events needed to claim three European Tour or PGA Tour wins since 1990. Higgo was playing in his 26th event.

LPGA: Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 9-under-par 63 in the final round to win the LPGA Thailand by one stroke And become the first home winner of the tournament in 14 years.

Jutanugarn’s overall total of 22-under 266 just edged out her fellow Thai, Atthaya Thitikul, 18, who missed a four-foot birdie putt on the last hole.

AUTO RACING

FORMULA ONE: Lewis Hamilton beat Max Verstappen in a thrilling duel to win the Spanish Grand Prix and increase his championship lead over his top rival.

Verstappen’s Red Bull edged the pole-sitting Hamilton to the first curve to snatch the early lead. But Mercedes’ use of two pit stops to give Hamilton fresher tires down the final stretch paid off and allowed him to overtake the Dutchman with six laps remaining.

Hamilton followed his 100th career pole on Saturday by taking his 98th win. He also tied Michael Schumacher’s mark of six victories at the Spanish Grand Prix, including the last five in a row.

Hamilton increased his lead to 14 points over Verstappen, who grabbed a bonus point for the fastest lap.

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas steered his Mercedes to a third-place finish.

COLLEGES

BASEBALL: Collin Duffley pitched a two-hitter in Game 1 and Cam Climo drove in four runs in Game 2 as UMass Lowell (15-24, 14-16 America East) swept a doubleheader against Maine (16-17, 11-14), beating the Black Bears 1-0 and 10-3 in Orono.

Alex McKenney took the loss in the opener despite giving up only two hits. Jimmy Sullivan led off the second inning with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cedric Rose.

Sean Lawlor got both hits for Maine.

Climo’s three-run homer capped a five-run third inning for the River Hawks in Game 2. Joey Castellanos added three RBI.

Scout Knotts went 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored for Maine in the second game.

• Cabot Maher hit a grand slam and went 3 for 5 with seven RBI as Colby (12-10) ended its season with a 20-3 win over Bates (1-7) in Lewiston.

The Mules finished with 19 hits, including four by Charlie Furlong. Brady O’Brien had three hits and four runs scored, and Noah Reichman hit a home run.

Christian Beal was 4 for 5 with two RBI for Bates.

FIELD HOCKEY: Erin Matson scored the sudden victory goal in the seventh minute of overtime to lift North Carolina (19-1) to its third consecutive NCAA title with a 4-3 win over Michigan (15-3) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

North Carolina won its third straight championship for the second time in program history (1995-97) and tied Old Dominion for an NCAA-best ninth title.

TENNIS

MADRID OPEN: Alexander Zverev continued his impressive form going into the French Open by winning his second Madrid Open title.

After beating top-seeded Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals and fourth-ranked Dominic Thiem in the semifinals, Zverev rallied to defeat Matteo Berrettini 6-7 (8), 6-4, 6-3 for his second title this season. The sixth-ranked German also won the Mexican Open in Acapulco in March.

SOCCER

ENGLAND: Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-1, leaving rival Manchester City still needing three points to reclaim the Premier League title.

• West Ham’s dream of a first-ever finish in the Premier League’s top four faded after a 1-0 loss at home against Everton. West Ham remained five points behind Leicester with three games remaining.

• Chelsea retained the Women’s Super League title and became the all-time record champion by beating Reading, 5-0.

It’s the fourth league title for Chelsea, which has one more than Arsenal since the first WSL season in 2011.

SPAIN: Real Madrid missed its chance to go top of La Liga with only three rounds, drawing 2-2 at home against Sevilla.

Atletico Madrid, which drew 0-0 at Barcelona on Saturday, stayed two points in front of both Real Madrid and Barcelona.

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