With nothing to lose, McIlroy dismantles Augusta National


AUGUSTA, Ga., April 10 (Reuters) — Matching the lowest ever score in the final round of the Masters, Rory McIlroy proved on Sunday he has the tools to dismantle Augusta National but now he needs to figure out how to do it before he has nothing to lose.

Starting Sunday’s final round 10 strokes behind overnight leader Scottie Scheffler, McIlroy fired aggressively at virtually every pin and was rewarded with six birdies and an eagle in an eight-under-par 64.

He finished on seven-under 281, three shots behind Scheffler, who four-putted the last when victory was already assured.

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While missing out on the career Grand Slam once again, McIlroy was not feeling sorry for himself.

«I don’t think I’ve ever walked away from this tournament as happy as I am today,» said the Northern Irishman, who in 2011 blew a four-shot lead in the final round.

«I’ve played a really good round of golf, and it’s my best ever finish at Augusta.

«It’s probably one of the best rounds I’ve had in a major championship. I thought if I could shoot 63 today, it would give me a chance. I didn’t quite get there, but I gave it a good shot.

«That’s what this tournament is all about, hang around until you get to a spot where you feel comfortable to be aggressive, and that was where I was today. I found myself a little too far back.»

Though having left his run too late to catch Scheffler, McIlroy electrified the crowd when he holed a 55-foot bunker shot at the last hole.

After landing the ball on the edge of the green and watching it curl slowly downhill into the middle of the cup for birdie, a pumped-up McIlroy reacted as though he had just won.

His 64 was the eighth recorded in a final round at the Masters, the most recent by Jordan Spieth in 2018. Greg Norman and Nick Price hold the outright course record of 63.

McIlroy has won a British Open, a U.S. Open and two PGA Championships, but still needs a Masters to complete the Grand Slam of all four modern majors.

His performance on Sunday would be a springboard, he said.

«I don’t think it just sets me up for next year, it sets me up for the rest of the year,» he added.

«I feel like my game has been sort of quietly pretty good without the results to really show for it.»

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Reporting by Andrew Both; editing by Ken Ferris/Peter Rutherford

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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