Rory McIlroy has joined Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in winning three modern majors by the age of 25 after the Northern Irishman clinched the Open by two shots at Hoylake.

McIlroy can now complete a career Grand Slam with just one more major win, and will join only five players in history, including Woods and Nicklaus, if he can also win the upcoming Masters.

The 25 year old finished the day with a score of 71, ending 16 under, while Sergio Garcia shot 66 and Rickie Fowler got 67.

Garcia came to within two shots of McIlroy on a number of occasions and the eventual winner admitted he felt the pressure as the afternoon rolled around.

"It feels incredible," McIlroy said. "It wasn't easy - there were a few guys making runs at me and I just needed to stay focused. To win three legs of the Grand Slam at 25 is a pretty big achievement.

"The Open is the one we all want, the one we all strive for. To hold this Claret Jug is an amazing feeling.

"The course is a very, very good test of golf. I am delighted with the way it was set up, it seemed to work in my favour. The fans have turned out in their thousands and on behalf of all the players I'd like to say thank you. The support has been terrific all week. Even though I am a Manchester United fan, I still got good support.

"It was a pleasure to play with Rickie and no doubt your time will come, Sergio too. Two of the best players in the world."

Fowler, who finished the day tied for second with Garcia, insisted that there were positives to take from a day when McIlroy proved to be too good.

He explained: "It was a battle for me, I didn't hit my best but I had to fight through it. I made a late run but got on the gas a little bit too late. Rory played very steady. He hit some great shots, a great par save on 17 ended my hopes.

"It has been successful year so far. The main goal was to be in contention in all four majors and we have one more left."