Rory McIlroy came up short in his attempt at a trans-Atlantic Ulster double success as Justin Rose broke his American duck with his win at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio last night.
McIlroy needed something in the order of McDowell’s closing 63 to make it a second success in American soil in a month.
But despite giving himself numerous birdie attempts — the type that were rolling in at Quail Hollow last month — they stubbornly failed to drop.
McIlroy had an early indication that it wasn’t going to be his day when he only just missed the green at the third and instead found a terrible lie in a bunker and he was unable to get up and down.
He did mount a recovery with birdies at the next couple of holes to get himself to one under for the day, but was, at that stage, six shots off the pace, too far back to mount much of a charge.
Instead he played within himself, finding fairways and greens and playing a patient game, which on this occasion, did not pay off.
He slipped from a tie for fifth place to a tie for tenth with a dropped shot on the 17th, after again hitting a greenside bunker.
But he parred the last for a one under round of 71 to leave him at nine under par, nine behind Rose.
Rose — the man McIlroy held off for his maiden European Tour win in Dubai two years ago — on the other hand, carded the day’s lowest round, a 66, to win.
The Englishman put in an almost flawless performance and moved into the lead, with three birdies in a row to the turn.
That made it four on his outward nine and he followed it up with a couple more on the 14th and 16th holes to move three clear of his nearest challengers, Americans Bo Van Pelt and Rickie Fowler.
A par four on the 17th preserved the luxury of that three-shot lead going down the last and he found the right side of the fairway with his drive down the last. He found the green in regulation and had the luxury of five putts to win, but needed just two.
Phil Mickelson came in with a three under 69 in a tie for fifth while Tiger Woods had a level par 72 in a tie for 19th.