The 150th Open: Rory McIlroy felt major challenge ‘slip away’ during final round at St Andrews | Golf News

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Rory McIlroy posted top-eight finishes in all four majors in 2022 but now completes an eighth consecutive season without a major victory; Former world No 1 ended the week on 18 under at St Andrews and two strokes behind Cameron Smith

Last Updated: 17/07/22 8:13pm


Rory McIlroy says he'll have to 'keep plugging away' as his wait for a fifth major continues after surrendering his lead on the final day of The Open

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Rory McIlroy says he’ll have to ‘keep plugging away’ as his wait for a fifth major continues after surrendering his lead on the final day of The Open

Rory McIlroy says he’ll have to ‘keep plugging away’ as his wait for a fifth major continues after surrendering his lead on the final day of The Open

Rory McIlroy was left to rue another missed opportunity to end his long major drought after squandering a two-shot advantage during his final round at The 150th Open.

The Northern Irishman took a share of the lead into the final round at St Andrews and was the overwhelming favourite to lift the Claret Jug at St Andrews and register a fifth major title, only to settle for third as Smith claimed a thrilling victory on the Old Course.

McIlroy registered just two birdies during his bogey-free 70, despite hitting every green in regulation, with the 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year requiring 36 putts in a disappointing display on the greens to end the week on 18 under and two strokes back.

McIlroy carded rounds of 66, 68, 66 and 70 at St Andrews

McIlroy carded rounds of 66, 68, 66 and 70 at St Andrews

“I felt like I didn’t do much wrong today, but I didn’t do much right either,” McIlroy said. “It’s just one of those days where I played a really controlled round of golf.

“I did what I felt like I needed to just apart from capitalising on the easier holes – around the turn, nine, 12 and 14. If I had made the birdies there from good positions, it probably would have been a different story.

Henni Koyack is joined by Rory McIlroy in the Open Zone via the power of Sky Scope technology to take a closer look at his power and prowess off the tee

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Henni Koyack is joined by Rory McIlroy in the Open Zone via the power of Sky Scope technology to take a closer look at his power and prowess off the tee

Henni Koyack is joined by Rory McIlroy in the Open Zone via the power of Sky Scope technology to take a closer look at his power and prowess off the tee

“But, look, I got beaten by a better player this week. Twenty under par for four rounds of golf around here is really, really impressive playing, especially to go out and shoot 64 today to get it done.”

Another major missed chance

The 33-year-old birdied the fifth and was two ahead at the turn, despite failing to take advantage of the par-four ninth, with McIlroy then starting his back nine with a birdie but ending a frustrating Sunday with eight consecutive pars.

Rory McIlroy misses another long eagle attempt at the 10th but sinks the birdie putt to extend his lead

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Rory McIlroy misses another long eagle attempt at the 10th but sinks the birdie putt to extend his lead

Rory McIlroy misses another long eagle attempt at the 10th but sinks the birdie putt to extend his lead

McIlroy could then only watch on as Smith charged up the leaderboard with five consecutive birdies on his way to a back-nine 30, the lowest ever by Open champion, with Cameron Young then snatching second with a final-hole eagle.

“I’ll rue a few missed sort of putts that slid by, but it’s been a good week overall,” McIlroy added. “I can’t be too despondent because of how this year’s went and this year’s going.

An emotional Cameron Smith says it was 'unreal' to get his hands on the Claret Jag after a sensational performance on the final day of The 150th Open Championship

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An emotional Cameron Smith says it was ‘unreal’ to get his hands on the Claret Jag after a sensational performance on the final day of The 150th Open Championship

An emotional Cameron Smith says it was ‘unreal’ to get his hands on the Claret Jag after a sensational performance on the final day of The 150th Open Championship

“I’m playing some of the best golf I’ve played in a long time. So it’s just a matter of keep knocking on the door, and eventually one will open.

“At the end of the day, it’s not life or death. I’ll have other chances to win the Open Championship and other chances to win majors. It’s one that I feel like I let slip away, but there will be other opportunities.”

The Open Verdict

July 18, 2022, 5:30pm

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What next for McIlroy?

McIlroy’s third-place finish rounds off a season where he has finished no worse than eighth in the majors, the first time he has top-10s in every major in a calendar year, giving him plenty of confidence going into the closing stretch of the PGA Tour campaign.

Cameron Smith produced three stunning shots on the 18th hole at St Andrews to win the 150th Open Championship

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Cameron Smith produced three stunning shots on the 18th hole at St Andrews to win the 150th Open Championship

Cameron Smith produced three stunning shots on the 18th hole at St Andrews to win the 150th Open Championship

The former world No 1 will now take the next three weeks off before returning to compete in the PGA Tour’s season-ending play-offs next month, with his next event the FedEx St Jude Championship in Memphis from August 11-14, live on Sky Sports.

“I’ve got a bit of time to rest and recover and try to take the positives, learn from the negatives, and move on,” McIlroy added. “I’m playing well. Again, it’s one of the best seasons I’ve had in a long time.

“I want to finish the season off well. I want to finish the season off right. There’s still some golf to play. Major season is over unfortunately, but I still feel like there’s a little bit to play for.”



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