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McIlroy's fire fails to ignite as Thomas clinches prize

 

By Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational challenge fizzled out last night as American Justin Thomas shot a closing 69 to seal a four-shot win, his eighth since October 2016.

Thomas saw off rivals at Firestone Country Club to claim victory on 15 under par with his compatriot Kyle Stanley in second spot. Holywood ace McIlroy was quietly confident of regaining the title he won in 2014 but he couldn't sustain a charge in his final round. The Ulsterman's hopes nosedived when he bogeyed the eighth and ninth holes to fall five shots off the pace.

A three over par final round saw the four-time Major winner finish the tournament on eight under par, in tied sixth position.

For Thomas it was the perfect preparation for the defence of his US PGA Championship title, with the sport's final major of the year starting on Thursday, but McIlroy will need to shake off the disappointment of his fading challenge. World number one Dustin Johnson surged through the field with a closing 64 to finish a shot further back alongside Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen, who birdied three of the last five holes to also shoot 64.

RORY FALLS SHORT: Pages 44-45

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