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I didn't take advantage: Rory McIlroy rues missed chance as JB Holmes wins Genesis Open

Rory McIlroy endured a frustrating final two holes at the Genesis Open after playing his way into contention.
Rory McIlroy endured a frustrating final two holes at the Genesis Open after playing his way into contention.

By Kevin Palmer

Rory McIlroy admitted he wasted chances to get into contention in the final round of the Genesis Open, as J.B. Holmes took advantage of a collapse from Justin Thomas to take the title in Los Angeles.

McIlroy posted a final round 69 that could have been even better if he had not missed a birdie chance at the 17th hole, before a fluffed approach at the 18th ended his challenge, finishing three shots behind the winner in a tie for fourth on -11.

"Honestly, I didn't know where I stood on the back nine and when I held the bunker shot at 16, I had a sneaky peak at the leaderboard and saw I was just two behind.

"It was tough out there. To shoot a 69 in those conditions was good. Hitting into the teeth of the wind at times. Holes 12 through to 16 were brutal and I played them in even par, which was a pretty good achievement.

"It was hard to get things going, but I did all the hard work and didn't take advantage on the last two holes when I had the wind with me.

"I had my chances and that is the frustrating part, but I did a lot of things well this week and have to take encouragement from that."

McIlroy was in contention to lift the title after his sparkling chip in from the bunker at the 16th hole, as he admitted he was shocked by the sight of the ball disappearing into the hole.

"I didn't think the chip was making it to the hole and somehow it went it," he added. "That was a reward for plugging away and missing a few putts that were very close.

"These things even themselves out and I have to take the positives from this week and try to build moving forward."

If it was a story of near misses for McIlroy, it was a tale of delight for Holmes, who held his nerve to take advantage of a woeful final round for third round leader Justin Thomas, who missed out by a single shot.

Thomas had carded back-to-back rounds of 65 to open up a four-shot leading heading into the final 18 holes, but a four over par 75 halted his march.

Holmes, who was criticised once again for his slow play, then rattled home the winning putt on the 18th green, giving him a victory that secured him a $1.3m windfall and a fifth PGA Tour title.

"The wind was so tough on the back nine and that made it so difficult," said Holmes. "I was just relieved to get the job done in the end and this is certainly one of my favourite wins."

Tiger Woods looked to be mounting a challenge at -10 with 10 holes to play but four drop shots in his closing run left the 14-time major champion in a tie for 15th.

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