Rory McIlroy came roaring home with a sensational 64 at the Kolon Korea Open but still had to settle for second place as American idol Rickie Fowler broke his two-year duck as a professional.
Fowler, often billed as ‘the new Rory’, finished six strokes in front of McIlroy after following up on his course record eight-under 63 at Woo Jeong Hills on Saturday with a cool 68 yesterday.
Frustrated with his runner-up finish behind the magnificent Michael Hoey at St Andrews the previous Sunday, McIlroy knew second place was about the best he could hope for in Korea after a slipshod 73 on Saturday had left him 10 strokes behind Fowler.
It has been some season for McIlroy, who won the US Open at Congressional in June and has not been outside the top three in his last four tournaments as he pursues an elusive fourth win as a professional.
In all he's had 12 top-10's and seven top-five finishes in 20 events around the world this season, though Ulsterman McIlroy clearly would like to seal the deal a little more often than he has in just over four years in the paid ranks.
“It was a nice way to finish, but all the damage was done during the third round with a couple of bad holes in the middle of the round,” said McIlroy.
“Looking back on this week, I will rue my third round, which could have been a lot better.
“If I'd played a little better and shot a few under on Saturday I might have had a chance, but Rickie has played fantastic this week and he deserves the win.”
l Former shop assistant Lee Slattery ended a seven-year and near 200 tournament winless drought to capture the Madrid Masters yesterday. The 33-year-old Englishman spent 10 months working in a Southport clothing store before eventually returning to golf to win twice on the secondary Challenge Tour and eventually regain his Race to Dubai card.
His round of 71 gave him a 15-under-par tally on the El Encin course, one ahead of Italy's Lorenzo Gagli.
Paul McGinley’s final round of 72 gave him a share of 28th place at four-under.
Damien McGrane signed for a closing 76 to finish at two-over par and one ahead of Gareth Maybin who recorded a 77.