If someone from Hollywood had won this year’s US Open at the Los Angeles Country Club, it might have been fitting. But Rory McIlroy, who was born in the Northern Irish town of Holywood, hasn’t had such a year.
McIlroy was chasing his first major title in nine years on Sunday, but the drought continues to cast a shadow over a stellar career that began with four major titles between 2011 and 2014. He missed out on qualifying for the Masters Tournament in April. A month later, he finished tied for seventh in the PGA Championship.
And on June 6, McIlroy, the PGA Tour’s most vocal supporter of its feud with the Saudi-backed LIV golf circuit, announced just hours before the news broke that the two tours had struck a shock business partnership. Knew.
McIlroy, like nearly everyone on the PGA Tour, felt blind.
But on Sunday, in the final round of the 123rd U.S. Open, the 34-year-old, with an exuberant smile, was once again eager to pursue another major title. He birdied on the first hole and spent the better part of the next four hours looking poised to involve eventual tournament winner Rickie Fowler and third round co-leader Windham Clarke. I was.
But McIlroy Didn’t birdie on other holesAnd in the end, Clark was one shot ahead of McIlroy after a tense end, with both golfers hitting even par 70s. It was McIlroy’s third major runner-up and his 10th major top-five finish since 2014.
“I fought till the end and I’m getting close,” McIlroy said Sunday of his challenge for a fifth major title, adding: will happen to me too “
McIlroy said he felt a connection between his performance on Sunday and his runner-up finish at last year’s British Open in St Andrews.
“The last two real chances I’ve had in the majors have been pretty similar performances,” he said. “I haven’t done anything too bad.”
McIlroy’s pursuit continued until the final stroke of the event, when Clarke, who was playing in the final group of the day, won the game with a two-putt from 60 feet on the 18th green.
McIlroy admitted he was expecting a mistake.
“I don’t want anyone to be unhappy, but I really want a three-putt,” he said. “You want to make it to the playoffs somehow to keep giving yourself a chance. may give you a sliver of hope.
“But Windham was rock solid most of the day and the last two putts were great.”
McIlroy’s fourth round got off to a good start, with a second shot and a two-putt on the 585-yard, par-5 first hole to reach the green for an opening birdie to temporarily tie for first place in the tournament.
However, he struggled to capitalize on his early momentum as he scored par after par for a total of 12 streaks. He showed the nerve to sink a few tense 4-foot par putts, but couldn’t get his approach shots close enough to easily birdie.
McIlroy persisted, but failed to make a putt over seven feet through the middle of the round. On the eighth green he sank an eight-foot birdie putt well to the left of the hole, which McIlroy specifically mentioned in the post-round press conference as a missed opportunity.
McIlroy’s towering approach shot with an iron on the par-3 ninth hole stopped 14 feet from the flag. As McIlroy stepped onto the green, fans in two packed grandstands begged for a straight putt that would have been alongside Clarke, but again McIlroy didn’t get the moment.
McIlroy’s consecutive pars came to a halt on the par 5 of the 14th hole when his tee shot bounced into the rough on the left side of the fairway. He forced a layup short of the green on his second shot, then faced a short wedge shot to the green.
McIlroy later said he had two clubs to choose from for his shot, but felt a gust of wind just before he started swinging, which disrupted the momentum of his shot.
“I had the right clubs, but I might have had to wait another 15 or 20 seconds for that little gust of wind to subside,” he said.
McIlroy’s golf ball stopped perfectly about a foot short of the 14th green and was unable to clear the large bunker guarding the front of the 14th green. The ball was buried in the grass bank between the sand and the green.
He was given free relief on the grass to the right of the bunker, but his precarious downhill chip to the green rolled eight meters from the hole. It bogeyed and McIlroy dropped to 9-under, extending his lead over Clark to two shots.
McIlroy closed out with four routine pars.
At the end of Sunday’s press conference, he was asked if he was tired of answering questions about waiting nine years to win his fifth major. He admitted he was tired, but he added: I’m going to get through 100 Sundays like this to get another major championship. “