NORTON, Mass. – Even though he began the final round in a tie for third, it felt like Rory McIlroy had the field at the Deutsche Bank Championship right where he wanted them.
He knows how to win at TPC Boston, having hoisted the trophy in 2012. He is clearly the best player in the world right now, and a victory Monday would have been his fourth in his last five starts.
While the stars appeared ready to align, McIlroy’s final-round performance came up short. He struggled to hole putts throughout the afternoon, carding a 1-under 70 that left him four shots behind winner Chris Kirk.
“Obviously a little disappointed with the way I putted,” McIlroy said. “At this point I’m just looking for wins, and today was a great opportunity. But it didn’t quite materialize.”
McIlroy considered skipping this week’s event, but ultimately opted to tee it up for the fifth time in the last seven weeks. After finally displaying some final-round mortality, he admitted that the grind of the last two months may have affected his performance.
“I think today was just a combination of trying too hard and then I feel like whenever I have played a lot of golf, my attitude can get sort of – I was very sort of reactive about bad shots and bad breaks today, which I haven’t been the last two weeks,” he said. “I think that’s a little bit of mental fatigue kicking in there.”
McIlroy will now head to the BMW Championship at No. 2 in the FedEx Cup points race, trailing only Kirk as he looks to capture the season-long crown that has eluded him to date.
“I think the bigger goal for me was top two going into Atlanta (Tour Championship),” he said. “It seems like those top two positions have a much greater chance of winning the overall thing.”