US PGA 2013: Rory McIlroy falls away while Graeme McDowell takes advantage
Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood quickly saw their hopes of major glory extinguished in the final round of the US PGA Championship at Oak Hill today.
Paired together and six off the lead, the Ryder Cup team-mates would have been encouraged by what they saw from the early starters on a course playing 109 yards shorter than the first round and offering plenty of birdie chances.
The par-five 13th was reachable in two for the first time after the tee was brought forward 38 yards and McIlroy's fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell was one of those to take advantage with a 66 to finish two under.
But although McIlroy birdied the third from long range, the defending champion missed from just three feet for another on the next and then came unstuck on the treacherous fifth.
The par four had already seen triple-bogey sevens from Open champion Phil Mickelson and Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer when McIlroy's approach span back off the green and onto the rocks on the edge of the water surrounding the green.
McIlroy was incredulous but had to troop over to the drop zone, from where he fired his fourth shot over the green and took three to get down to drop back to one under.
Westwood had already bogeyed the second and double-bogeyed the third when he found water off the tee on the fifth, and although he managed to drop just one shot, another bogey on the seventh soon followed.
The 40-year-old was seeking his first major title at the 63rd attempt after letting slip a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Open at Muirfield last month.
At the top of the leaderboard, Jim Furyk and Jason Dufner shared the lead on 10 under, Dufner having birdied the fourth and fifth and overnight leader Furyk holing from 35ft for an unlikely birdie on the sixth.
The final pair were threatening to pull away from the chasing pack, with Sweden's Henrik Stenson closing the gap to one with an eagle from 20ft on the fourth but dropping a shot on the seventh to lie seven under.
Belfast Telegraph Digital