ST. ANDREWS (Scotland) — Every time Rory McIlroyThis week, when he ventured out from his hotel room in St. Andrews (Scotland), he saw the big yellow scoreboard over the Old Courses 18th and first holes.
McIlroy and Norway were at the top of the leaderboard as McIlroy began Sundays final round of The Open 150th Edition. Viktor Hovland. McIlroys name dropped to third after 18 holes. He had lost another major championship.
McIlroy finished two shots behind Australias four-time major winner Cameron SmithHe carded an 8 under 64 on Sunday and was 20 under after 72 holes.
Im only a human. McIlroy stated that he is not a robot. McIlroy said, Of course, you think about it, you envision it, you want to visualize it. … And every single time I go outside, I try to imagine McIlroy as the top name in that leaderboard. How does that feel?
At the beginning of the day, it was at top, but at tomorrows start, it won’t be. You have to dream. Its important to think about it and imagine what it would look like. But once I was on the course, it was just [the]Task at hand and trying my best to play the best golf possible.
McIlroy, 33 years old, has now played eight complete seasons since his 2014 PGA Championship victory. McIlroy has played in eight full seasons since then. 23 other golfers won majors, but not him.
It was the 17th time McIlroy has finished in the top 10 in a major, the most by any player since 2015, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He has been in the top five nine times including three of four this year.
McIlroy declared, Ill still be OK. At the end its neither life nor death. There are other chances I have to win the Open Championship as well as majors. Its a one I feel like I let go of, but there will still be other opportunities.
McIlroy was four shots ahead at the beginning of the round and had a two stroke cushion over Hovland by the turn. This one didnt slip away for him as in the past. Smiths final round was one of the most impressive in major championship history. Smith shot 6-under-30 on his back nine, after five consecutive birdies.
McIlroy did not play poorly, he just wasnt good enough to win Claret Jug. He made 18 of 18 fairways. He was able to hit 12 of 16 greens. He didn’t make a single birdie. McIlroy was unable to get his approach shots close enough for Smith to go on a birdie-run. He narrowly missed several birdie putts.
McIlroy stated that I was hitting good putsts. They werent dropping.
McIlroy is the second player in the last thirty years to hold the lead or co-lead at 54 holes. Jason DayThe other was in 2015.
McIlroy is a clearly a great player, Smith said. McIlroy is one of those guys you cant help but to stop when he hits balls on the range. He just keeps knocking on doors every single week, it seems. Hes the most consistent player here. Yes, hes going get a major, I think, very soon. Hes really solid.
McIlroy will need to wait nine months before he gets his next chance at the Masters in April. He finished a career best solo second at Augusta National in spring. To complete the career Grand Slam, he only needs to win a green jersey.
McIlroy stated, I just have to keep putting myself in position, keep putting me in there. And when you are in that shining light, setbacks will be inevitable. Youll also have to deal with failures. Today is one of those times. I just need to get up and go again, keep working hard, and keep believing.
McIlroy has played some the best golf this season, despite the disappointments in majors. McIlroy has been in the top 25 in 11 out of 13 starts, including wins at the CJ Cup @ Summit and the RBC Canadian Open.
McIlroy indicated that he will be taking the next three week off before participating in the FedEx Cup Playoffs at Memphis, Tennessees FedEx St. Jude Championship, Aug. 11-14.
McIlroy stated, Im playing good. Its one of my best seasons in a long while. I want to close the season strong. I want to end the season right. Theres still golf to play. Major season is over but I still feel like theres still a little bit of golf to play.