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Rory McIlroy crashes at the final hurdle in California

By Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy cut a frustrated figure as his hopes of winning the Northern Trust Open in California went up in smoke.

The World No.3 went into his final round only two shots off the lead but a disappointing day saw him tumble down the leaderboard.

McIlroy finished off with a poor 75 - four over par for the round - leaving him on six under for the tournament.

The Holywood ace began the day in buoyant mood, confident of making a push for the title in his maiden outing at the event but his mood darkened as the putts failed to drop.

Not even a birdie on the final hole could disguise McIlroy's disappointment at the end of the £4.7million tournament.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and fellow American Jason Kokrak were leading the way in the closing stages as McIlroy reflected on a shocking finish.

The 26-year-old knows he must produce more consistent form if he wants to challenge for more major honours.

Meanwhile, Marcus Fraser took advantage of Soomin Lee's dramatic late collapse to clinch the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia for his first win in almost six years.

Lee led by two approaching the final three holes at Royal Selangor Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur but the South Korean double-bogeyed at the 16th and 18th.

That allowed Fraser to steal in and take the title with a flawless three under par 68 giving him a two-shot victory.

It is the Australian's third European Tour triumph and his first since lifting the Ballantine's Championship in April 2010, with the 37-year-old revealing he was spurred on to go all the way by his children.

He said: "It's unbelievable, six years since my last one. My kids keep saying to me every time I walk out the door, 'dad, can you bring home a trophy?' And I say, 'I'll try, I'll try'.

"This time I get to take one home and they can take it to school for show and tell, which is going to be pretty cool.

"That's the main reason I wanted to win."

Lee's round of 73 dropped him back to 13 under par overall and a tie for second place alongside Miguel Tabuena, with the 21-year-old Filipino matching Fraser's closing 68.

In a share of fourth were France's Julien Quesne and Spain's Jorge Campillo, whose compatriot Pablo Larrazabal finished one shot further back on 11 under par alongside England's Richard Bland.

Nathan Holman of Australia settled for eighth position, while Peter Uihlein's fantastic round of 66 was enough to lift him into a tie for ninth place, with the American finishing alongside India's Rahil Gangjee and Japan's Masahiro Kawamura.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, equalled Uihlein's five under par round as he finished in a tie for 12th, while Danny Willett, winner of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic earlier this month, carded a disappointing 75 to finish in a share of 45th.

England's Charley Hull earned a share of fourth place after a final-round 68 at the Women's Australian Open.

The 19-year-old finished eight shots adrift of Japan's Haru Nomura (65), who held off Lydia Ko (67) of New Zealand by three strokes to earn her first LPGA victory.

Belfast Telegraph


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