One bad round costs McIlroy big-time
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — One bad round. One completely, utterly awful round.
Take that away, and Rory McIlroy’s walk up the 18th fairway Sunday at the British Open might have been triumphant.
“I couldn’t help but think about Friday,” McIlroy said after shooting a 68 that moved him into a tie for third place. “You know, if I had just sort of stuck in a little bit more on Friday and held it together more, it could have been a different story.”
McIlroy finished eight strokes behind winner Louis Oosthuizen. Take away the 80 he posted Friday and give him a score in the 60s — as he had the other three days — and it explains why he wasn’t thrilled with his best finish at a major.
“I knew that I had a good chance coming in here, and it was nice to sort of be there for a while,” he said. “I’m still a bit disappointed, to be honest.”
With Lee Westwood, the No. 3 player in the world still nursing a bum leg, McIlroy arrived at St. Andrews as the best hope to end the United Kingdom’s losing streak at its own open. No golfer from Britain or Northern Ireland has hoisted the claret jug since Paul Lawrie in 1999, and Nick Faldo was the last Englishman to win, claiming the last of his three Open titles in 1992. isn’t Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson.
Sean O’Hair and Nick Watney were the only Americans in the top 10 on Sunday. Woods tied for 23rd. Mickelson, who could have taken over the No. 1 ranking for the first time in his career with a win on the Old Course, tied for 48th. Neither was ever in contention.