Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Sports | By Johanna Francis

McIlroy remains in contention in Hawaii

McIlroy remains in contention in Hawaii

Cape Town - Rory McIlroy said he would remain patient after another lackluster final round in Hawaii on Sunday put pay to his chances of victory at the PGA Tour's Tournament of Champions.

The 34-year-old provided the shot of the day on the par-five 15th when he banked a curving 64-foot putt off the flagstick for eagle and the outright lead, moments after McIlroy had pulled into a share with a birdie on 14.

That left him in joint-fourth position but eight shots behind the victor, Xander Schauffele, after the 25-year-old American covered his final 16 holes in 12-under-par to tie the course record with a closing 62 as he claimed a dramatic victory. "I gave myself plenty of chances, I hit most of the fairways, I hit most of the greens, I just couldn't get the ball to drop".

On six occasions around the world past year McIlroy played in the final group in the final round and in all six he failed to win.

Refusing to beat himself up, the Ulsterman said: "My attitude was much better, I didn't press at all".

"This one will sting", Woodland said.

He was still somewhat dazed when he stepped outside the scoring trailer as Woodland was walking off the 18th green, having missed a 10-foot birdie putt that would have forced a playoff at Kapalua. "I didn't have a bogey today and I can go out and make that a goal tomorrow", he said.

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Woodland drained a 63-foot eagle putt at the par-5 15th hole at Kapalua during a solid 68 that elevated him to 17 under at the winners-only event in Maui.

"I played in six final groups previous year, a lot of them coming from behind, and I probably just pushed a little too hard trying to catch up, trying to play a ideal first six holes and it didn't really work out for me", he said. Woodland had five birdies in his 68 for 270.

Rather than wilting after an opening bogey, Schauffele (25), who was five behind starting out, birdied the third, fifth, sixth and seventh, pitched in from 18 yards for an eagle at the par-five ninth to go out in 31 and matched that score on the back nine. "But I knew I wanted to be prepared coming in".

'So that's the sort of mindset I need to try to get back into'.

"I probably pushed a little too hard, and it didn't really work out for me", McIlroy said.

After the 24th of the 29 second-place finishes he recorded before winning the first of his three Majors in 2007, Harrington said: "So long as I am learning, I am okay".

"This one will sting tonight but we'll regroup". Justin Thomas carded a 65 to finish alone in third on 274.

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