Rory McIlroy: Whether it be mindset or whatever, I just didn't quite have it today
RORY McIlroy endured a disappointing final day at the Masters in Augusta as American Patrick Reed claimed his first major title.
Bidding to complete the Grand Slam of golfing majors – McIlroy started the final round in second place, just three shots behind leader Reed, but it was Reed’s fellow Americans Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth who emerged as the main threats as McIlroy struggled with his putting.
The early signs had been good for McIlroy as a bogey from Reed at the first saw his lead cut to two and when McIlroy put his approach at the par five second to six-feet for eagle he looked like wiping out the overnight deficit within the space of two holes.
However, missing the putt and having to settle for birdie was compounded by a bogey at the next and a birdie from Reed which brought the American’s lead back to three.
McIlroy did rally with a birdie at the next, but that was as close as he was to get to the lead as he failed to fire on the greens, bogeying holes five, eight, 11 and 14 to drop back to nine-under par.
The Holywood man told Sky News: "I played probably some of the best golf I've ever played here, it just wasn't meant to be," said McIlroy, who littered his card with five bogeys against three birdies. "Of course it's frustrating and it's hard to take any positives from it right now but at least I put myself in a position, that's all I've wanted to do.
"For the last four years I've had top 10s but I haven't been close enough to the lead. Today I got myself there, I didn't quite do enough but I'll still come back next year and try again. I'm 100 per cent sure I can come back and win here.
"I've played in two final groups in the last seven years, I've had five top 10s, I play this golf course well. I just haven't played it well enough at the right times. But I'll sit down and reflect over the next few days and see what I could have done better.
"Whether it be mindset or whatever, I just didn't quite have it today. I played some great golf, but I just didn't continue that into today," added McIlroy, who admitted his putter had "let me down" throughout the final round."
Spieth, meanwhile, was putting pressure on his compatriot and threatening the course record into the bargain.
Having started nine shots behind Reed, he took a share of the lead with his ninth birdie of the day at the 16th, but his challenge suffered a fatal blow with a bogey at the last and he was eventually overtaken for second by Fowler.
Reed, however, kept his composure and parred the final hole to claim a one-shot victory, with McIlroy ending up in a four-way tie for fifth.