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Ugly finish wipes out McIlroy's hard work

 

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Not sure: Rory McIlroy reacts after his tee shot on the seventh hole during the final round at TPC River Highlands last night

Not sure: Rory McIlroy reacts after his tee shot on the seventh hole during the final round at TPC River Highlands last night

AP

Not sure: Rory McIlroy reacts after his tee shot on the seventh hole during the final round at TPC River Highlands last night

A late double bogey ruined what looked to be a strong finish for Rory McIlroy at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut as he moved back up the leaderboard at TPC River Highlands last night.

The World No.1 carded two birdies and an eagle on his back nine to finish his tournament at 13 under par having rounded it off with a three-under-par 67, however it was ruined by that ugly, frustrating double bogey at the 17th.

Regardless, it was still a welcome change for McIlroy, who had a better final round than he did at both the Charles Schwab Challenge and RBC Heritage when he fell away from the leaders having been in contention.

That said, it was still another round where it was a case of what could have been as the Holywood man passed up several good birdie chances that could have potentially propelled him into contention for the trophy.

The 31-year-old Ulsterman started well with a birdie at his opening hole, rolling in a 23ft putt from off the green for the perfect start, however he immediately gave the shot back one hole later after overshooting the green with his approach and failing to make up-and-down.

McIlroy then dropped another shot at the par-four fourth when he three-putted from the front of the green, but back-to-back birdies at the sixth and seventh after two superb approach shots got him back to one under for the day.

Despite not taking advantage of the short par-four ninth, at which the Holywood ace almost drove the green but still walked away with just a par, he turned on the style after the turn to propel himself up the standings.

The first birdie came at the 10th when McIlroy chipped in from just off the side of the green, and that was followed by a fantastic eagle at the par-five 13th when he rolled in a 34-footer after hitting the green in two.

It should have been even better for the four-time Major champion, who somehow missed a five-footer at the driveable par-four 15th for birdie, but then made up for it a hole later by holing out for birdie from a greenside bunker at the 16th.

But the wheels came off at the 17th, McIlroy finding the fairway bunker off the tee and then hitting into the water with his second shot, leading to a double-bogey six that ended any slim hopes of him potentially mounting a late challenge.

The World No.1 did at least record a good up-and-down from short of the green at the 18th for a finishing par, however his final round wasn't enough to bring him sufficiently up the leaderboard to challenge leading pair Dustin Johnson and Brendon Todd.

McIlroy will now take a week off from action as the PGA Tour moves to Detroit next weekend for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, with neither Graeme McDowell or Shane Lowry due to be in action either.

All three are next scheduled to be on the tee at Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio in two weeks' time, where Tiger Woods is also set to make his first start since lockdown.

Belfast Telegraph