UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Rory McIlroy electrified the crowds during the final round of the U.S. Open, but in the end he couldn’t conquer the finishing holes at Chambers Bay.
McIlroy began the day eight shots off the lead but raced up the standings, playing his first 13 holes in 6 under and flirting with the all-time major scoring record. He capped that stretch with a 72-foot bomb on No. 13, but from there he missed a short birdie attempt on No. 14 and played the final four holes in 2 over to post a 4-under 66.
McIlroy finished the tournament at even-par 280, but he played Nos. 15-18 in 5 over par for the week, including a double bogey-bogey finish to his second round that effectively ended his title chances.
“Obviously, the last few holes of this golf course haven’t been kind to me all week,” McIlroy said. “When I look back at this tournament, that’s where I’ll rue some missed opportunities. I feel like it’s sort of one that got away, especially the way I putted this week.”
McIlroy reached 2 under with his birdie on No. 13, his fifth in a seven-hole span, and at that point he felt the trophy could still be within reach despite teeing off more than 2 ½ hours before the co-leaders.
“If I could post 4 under, birdie those two holes coming in, then I thought I had a great chance. Really, really did,” he said. “Especially with the way the greens are getting out there, they’re getting baked. At least it would be a number for guys to really think about.”
McIlroy will now take two weeks off before teeing it up in Scotland, first at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and then to defend his Open Championship title at St. Andrews. Despite his rocky finish, the world No. 1 has plenty of positive takeaways from his week in the Pacific Northwest.
“The long game is in really good shape. I’ve never hit the ball as good in a major championship for four rounds. I was really dialed in all week and confident with that,” he said. “If I can just get the putting a little bit better and roll a few more in and get a little bit of confidence with that going, I see nothing but positive signs for the next few months.”