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Rory McIlroy admits swing has 'regressed' as another search for fifth major goes on

By Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy closed with a rollercoaster round that matched his Major season and confessed that he may sit out the first FedEx Cup event to do some soul-searching after seeing his Major drought extended to four years at the US PGA

The Holywood star (29) finished fifth in the Masters, then missed the cut in the US Open at Shinnecock Hills before coming home tied for second behind Francesco Molinari in The Open.

But while a rain-softened Bellerive Country Club looked tailor-made for his game, he was wayward all week and ended up making up the numbers on two-under after a closing 70 that could have been a 75 but for some miraculous short game play.

"It's been a year where I've shown glimpses of what I can do but I just haven't done it often enough," a dejected McIlroy said.

"It's the Major season over and we have to wait a few months to the next one but there's still a lot of golf to play this year and quite a bit to play for.

"There's a lot of room for improvement. My swing really hasn't been where I want it to be. It was pretty good at the start of the year but it's sort of regressed as the season has went on, you start to fall back into some of the habits you don't want to."

McIlroy found three water hazards and just four fairways in yesterday's final round and while he was first for driving distance, he was 77th for driving accuracy and 45th for putting.

Asked how he would remember the Majors in 2018, McIlroy added: "I probably won't. I don't think there was anything all that memorable about it. I guess I had two chances but I didn't really contend the back nine at Augusta.

"I didn't get myself into contention in 2017, don't really think I did in 2016 so I guess it's been a positive from that standpoint."

McIlroy had a truly roller coaster final round to match his season in the Majors, incurring no fewer than four penalty strokes as he hit just three fairways on a hot and sticky morning at Bellerive.

He found water with his tee shot at the second to drop a shot but then holed an outrageous 50 footer at the fourth and a 14-footer at the next to get back onto the red.

He was in trouble again at the par-five eighth, where his tee shot sailed left and ricocheted off a tree, 60 yards back down a cart path and rifled his escape through the fairway into the lateral hazard.

He got up and down from 115 yards for par, then chipped in at the ninth to go out in one-under.

The fireworks show continued at the 294 yard 11th where he went for the green but hooked his driver so far left that it cannoned around in the crowd, rocketing into flower beds from where he had to take his fourth penalty drop of the round. Again he got up and down for par but the finish summed up his week.

After missing a four-footer for par at the 15th, he birdied the par-five 17th before another hooked tee shot ended up on a cart path at the 18th and after his fifth drop of the day, this time a free one, he came up short and a missed a seven-footer for par.

With 241 days to go to the Masters, it's going to be a long winter for the Co Down man.

• Massereene's Tiarnan McLarnon produced a blistering finish to win the Sherry Fitzgerald Davitt & Davitt Mullingar Scratch Trophy by a stroke at Mullingar and join the legends of the Irish game.

The former Ireland international (26) went into the final round two behind Alan Fahy, Tandragee's Stefan Greenberg and John Hickey on one-under par.

But after carding a two-under 70 in the third round, he shot six-under 66 to win by a stroke from Robert Brazill on nine-under 279.

Belfast Telegraph

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