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Rory McIlroy crashes as Adam Scott triumphs in WGC Cadillac Championship

By Phil Casey

Published 07/03/2016

Rory McIlroy reacts to a missed putt on the 10th hole yesterday as his hopes of winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral fade
Rory McIlroy reacts to a missed putt on the 10th hole yesterday as his hopes of winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral fade
Uphill battle: Rory McIlroy chips onto the eighth hole during the final round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship

World number three Rory McIlroy failed to celebrate a third WGC title in the Cadillac Championship after seeing his lead wiped out in dramatic fashion at Doral.

McIlroy took a three-shot lead over defending champion Dustin Johnson and in-form Australian Adam Scott into the final round as he looked to join Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players since 1945 to win 12 times on the PGA Tour before the age of 27.

But the Holywood ace just couldn't hold his nerve in the final round and finished on 10 under, two shots behind winner Scott.

A two over last round left McIlroy feeling frustrated and reflecting on what might have been.

England's Danny Willett also finished on 10 under while Bubba Watson claimed the runner-up spot on 11 under.

Graeme McDowell finished on two over, in tied 28th position.

A string of pars was enough for four-time major winner McIlroy to edge a stroke ahead when Johnson and Scott both double-bogeyed the third hole as Doral's Blue Monster course lived up to its name.

However, McIlroy then bogeyed the seventh - his first dropped shot since the second hole of his second round - and found water with his approach to the eighth, the same hole where he threw his three iron into the lake in frustration 12 months ago.

McIlroy at least kept his temper in check this time and saved par after taking a penalty drop and pitching to six feet, but failed to repeat the feat after finding sand off the tee on the ninth.

That dropped the 26-year-old into a tie for the lead with England's Danny Willett and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, with Phil Mickelson also briefly reaching 10 under par with a birdie on the ninth only to bogey the 10th after driving into the water.

Watson holed from 25 feet on the 12th to move into the outright lead, but was soon joined on 11 under by Scott, who was staging a remarkable fightback.

The former world number one was six off the lead after his second double bogey of the day on the fifth, but bounced back with birdies on the sixth and eighth and started the back nine with three more in succession.

Willett had bogeyed the 11th after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker, but birdied the 12th to rejoin McIlroy on 10 under.

Watson bogeyed the 14th to drop out of the lead and the left-hander soon found himself two shots off the pace after Scott birdied the same hole from three feet.

McIlroy's chances suffered another blow with a bogey on the 13th dropping him to nine under, three behind Scott.

Willett's chances disappeared with a drive into the water on the last. Watson had birdied the 17th to also get within one of Scott, who amazingly shanked a bunker shot on the short 16th but got up and down to save par and remain in the lead.

And it was Scott who held his composure on the last, sinking a par putt to clinch the title.

He said: "I've used my experience to my advantage the last couple of weeks - it was such a challenge out there today."

Meanwhile, Steven Bowditch became the first man since 1983 to shoot four rounds in the 80s at a PGA event as he ended the World Golf Championship on 37 over par.

The Australian had a closing round of 12-over-par 84 at Doral, but picked up $48,000 (£33,700) for finishing 65th.

Bowditch, who completed his final round in two hours and 12 minutes, said: "I shot 37 over par and still made a paycheck. All's not that bad."

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