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Poor showing: Rory McIlroy was unable to trouble the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage before incoming storms meant players had to come off the course

Poor showing: Rory McIlroy was unable to trouble the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage before incoming storms meant players had to come off the course

AP

Poor showing: Rory McIlroy was unable to trouble the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage before incoming storms meant players had to come off the course

Another poor final round saw Rory McIlroy fall well off the pace on a weather-affected fourth day at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina.

The World No.1 never got to grips with Harbour Town Golf Links yesterday afternoon, sitting one over par for the day and dropping eight shots off the lead as incoming storms halted play at Hilton Head Island after the leading groups had just begun their rounds.

South African ace Dylan Frittelli had set the mark in the clubhouse, carding a sparkling nine-under 62 in his final round to hold the overall lead at 17 under par, while Justin Thomas had joined him at that mark having played 16 holes prior to the weather delay.

The likes of overnight leaders Webb Simpson, Ryan Palmer, Tyrrell Hatton and Abraham Ancer - who all started the day at 15 under - were all only a couple of holes into their rounds when the hooter sounded to take the players off the course.

Having seen Frittelli set the target in the clubhouse, it was always going to be a tough ask for McIlroy, who started the day at nine under.

But the Holywood man never bounced back from a double bogey at the par-three fourth and was always playing catch-up from there.

It's another disappointing final round for McIlroy, who was also in contention at last week's Charles Schwab Challenge going into Sunday's final round, only to fall away from the leaders with a similarly poor finish.

This time around things started positively for the Ulsterman. After taking advantage of the short par-five second to record his first birdie of the day, McIlroy would have been hoping to carry that momentum into the rest of the front nine, but his round would unravel at the fourth.

Needing birdies to try and catch the leaders, you can't fault McIlroy for going for the pin, which was tucked close to the water on the left side of the green. However, his shot was pulled too much and found the drink, yielding a double-bogey five to undo the good work two holes prior.

A potential bounce-back birdie went begging when the 31-year-old failed to get up and down from the front of the green at the par-five fifth, and that was followed by another bogey at the other par three on the front nine when he three-putted at the seventh.

McIlroy at least finished the front nine on a high as he picked up his second birdie of the day at the short par-four ninth, driving it right of the green and making the up and down to gain back a shot.

But the back nine was a story of McIlroy failing to gain any positive momentum, parring his first five holes after the turn before the weather forced him off the course.

At the top of the leaderboard, Frittelli took advantage of the kinder weather earlier on in the day, recording six birdies on his inward nine on his way to a sensational bogey-free 62 to take the sole clubhouse lead before the leaders had even teed off, including back-to-back birdies at the tricky 17th and 18th holes for a strong finish.

Once he finishes his fourth round at Harbour Town, McIlroy will turn his attentions to this week's Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands where another high-calibre field will compete on the PGA Tour's third week back since the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Graeme McDowell and defending Open champion Shane Lowry will also be in the field, however Tiger Woods' absence from the circuit will continue as he targets a return to competitive golf at the Memorial Tournament on July 16.

Belfast Telegraph