Rory McIlroy goes close at Sawgrass but Players Championship title just out of reach
Rory McIlroy is in good shape for next week's Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow - the Ulsterman's first ever PGA Tour victory back in 2010 - after a solid final round at the Players Championship at Sawgrass.
The world number one shot a two under par 70 to finish eight under for the $10million tournament as Rickie Fowler staged a late surge towards the crown.
McIlroy was always in contention in the so-called "fifth Major" without ever managing a real birdie blitz to pile the pressure on his rivals.
The 26-year-old said: "I was obviously looking to shoot something in the mid 60s that would have given me a chance. I gave myself some opportunities but my putter let me down."
As for his return to Quail Hollow, McIlroy said: "It's always exciting going back there. I have good memories of the place and love the course.
"Hopefully I can get into contention and get a win."
McIlroy had gone to the turn in 36 and picked up a birdie on the 11th in a mixed bag of a round that included three birdies and a bogey.
His fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell fired a final round one under par 71 to finish level for the tournament.
Dubliner Padraig Harrington shot a superb five under 67, giving him a two under par total.
Sergio Garcia recovered from a poor start to join American quartet Chris Kirk, Ben Martin, Bill Haas and Kevin Kisner.
Garcia found himself three off the pace when he bogeyed the first hole. However, the 35-year-old birdied the second, fourth and fifth.
Tiger Woods had a final round of 72 - including a triple bogey on the 14th - for a three over total which left the 14-time Major winner joint 69th of the 75 players to make the cut.