McIlroy pays heavy price for rocky Wells Fargo ride

Rory McIlroy paid a heavy price for another roller-coaster tournament despite a blistering final round 66 in defence of his Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina.

Unfortunately it was just a round too late for McIlroy, who sandwiched eight birdies in between bogeys at the first and last holes on the Quail Hollow course.

McIlroy ended the event in a share of fourth place with American Phil Mickelson, who also shot a 66, for the Open and PGA Championship winning duo to end at seven under par.

Unfortunately, McIlroy could look back to rounds of 73 on Thursday and Saturday as the root cause in not successfully defending a tour title for the first time in his eight-year pro career.

However, with the Players Championship later this week ahead of McIlroy hosting the May 19th starting Irish Open, the current World No. 3 was in an upbeat mode.

“I still have two big weeks coming up and looking back it’s been a decent performance this week,” he said.

“Looking back the two 73s I shot in the first and the third round meant that I just left myself too much to do today.

“But then a 66 is a really good score and I am positive and confident going into the next couple of weeks.

“I have continued to do a little bit better each time I have competed in the Players so I am looking forward to next week given there is a little bit of form in my game.”

McIlroy’s last day began when he took three shots to get down a green side bunker at the first before igniting hopes of repeating the then course record 62 he shot six years ago to win on the PGA Tour for the first time.

In fact, McIlroy picked up six birdies in an eight-hole stretch from the fourth to 11th holes.

McIlroy then birdied the 14th and 16th holes to muscle his way into third place and just two shots from the lead before dropping a shot at the last.

“If you take away the start and the end it is a pretty good score card so I feel as though I played well as I drove the ball well and hit a lot of better iron shots,” he said.

“So I did a lot of things right today with just two soft bogeys at the first and the last holes.”

“Overall it’s been a good day and when I thought I had a chance around the back nine but it wasn’t quite meant to be.”

Indeed it does continue a frustrating trend for McIlroy who is yet to post four rounds under par in six PGA Tour events this season.

McIlroy ruined any hope of winning the Masters with a third round 77 while he ruled himself out of Arnold Palmer Invitational contention with a day three 75.

It was the same a week earlier with McIlroy 12-under through three rounds of the WGC – Cadillac Championship and then signing off with a 74.

American James Hahn ended a run of eight missed cuts to win in a play-off over compatriot Roberto Castro after both players ended at nine under par.

England’s Justin Rose was third and just a shot outside of the play-off at nine under par.

Adam Scott returned to tournament golf with a T17 result alongside John Senden at 2-under.