Golf

Rory McIlroy vows to continue pursuit of Masters and career grand slam

 Bogey-free 64 from Rory McIlroy.
Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent, Augusta

Rory McIlroy vowed to keep trying to win the Masters and complete a career grand slam after a thrilling runners-up finish at Augusta National.

McIlroy holed out from a bunker on the 18th to complete a closing 64, equalling the lowest final round in tournament history.

The 32-year-old finished three shots behind world number one Scottie Scheffler, who four-putted the 18th in an otherwise brilliant performance to claim his first major title with a fourth win in his last six starts.

“It’s what you dream about, right? You dream about getting yourself in position,” McIlroy said after his wild celebrations on the 18th green with playing partner Collin Morikawa, who also holed out from the same bunker.

“I wasn’t quite close enough to the lead (but) to play as well as I did and then to finish like this, I mean, it’s just absolutely incredible.

“This tournament never ceases to amaze and that’s as happy as I’ve ever been on a golf course right there. That was an incredible. I’ve never heard roars like on the 18th green. It was really cool.

“I will come up a little bit short, but I gave it a great go and I can’t ask any more of myself. I went out there today, shot my best ever score at Augusta and it’s going to be my best finish ever.

“Probably not quite good enough, but I’ll come back next year and keep trying.

Scheffler revealed he “cried like a baby” ahead of the final round of the Masters after claiming his first major title.

“I was so overwhelmed and didn’t know I was ready for this,” Scheffler said. “I cried like a baby this morning.

“I’ve dreamed of having a chance to play in this tournament, I teared up when I got my first invite in the mail. I love this place and if you’re going to choose a tournament to win it would be this.

“You don’t know how many chances you get to win, you don’t want to waste them and the human condition is to make things bigger than they are and you think it’s a lot bigger deal than it is.

“I don’t know what to say to be honest, I’m just really thankful to be in this position. I don’t think anything has sunk in. My head is still spinning.”

Scheffler was two shots off the lead following an opening 69 and opened up a record-equalling five-shot lead at halfway thanks to a brilliant 67 in testing conditions on Friday.

“Probably the first time the thought of winning popped into my mind was Friday in the afternoon after we got done,” the 25-year-old American said.

“I never really make it this far. I always dream of being here and competing. I can’t put into words what it means that I’ll be able to come back here for a lifetime, hopefully, and I can’t speak highly enough of this place.

“I can’t thank my family enough. My parents and my sisters have made so many sacrifices for me over the years, and we’ve all dreamed about just making it to this tournament, and it’s emotional just getting in the field.

“So to have the honour of winning the golf tournament is so special, and for them all to be here with us, and my wife’s family was here as well, that was a really special moment.”

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