Rory McIlroy had an up-and-down final round at the 2013 Players Championship, finishing the day two-under-par to post a final score of seven-under—well off the lead, which, at the time of his finish, was 13-under-par.
He birdied the par-five second hole and was one-under through the first five holes, but McIlroy ran into some trouble on the latter half of the front nine, making bogeys on No. 6, No. 8 and No. 9.
Thankfully, McIlroy was able to right the ship and finished strong with four birdies in his final six holes—including a three-hole stretch between No. 15 and No. 17.
McIlroy was brilliant this week hitting greens, but he struggled to get the ball in tight to the pins. In his final round, his average distance to the pin was over 35 feet. Not surprisingly, he struggled on the greens and averaged minus-0.830 strokes gained with his putter.
Here is a breakdown of McIlroy's Day 4 scorecard:
|Hole|| 1 ||2|| 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 ||8||9||IN|
|Par|| 4 || 5 ||3||4||4||4||4||3||5||36|
*Birdies listed in parenthesis and bold, while bogeys are in brackets and bold.
First Hole: Par 4, 392 yards
McIlroy got off to a nice start, making par on the first hole.
Second Hole: Par 5, 532 yards
After making a solid par on the first hole, McIlroy was able to take advantage of his length off the tee and put himself in position for an early birdie. He drained his birdie putt to move to one-under for the day.
Third Hole: Par 3, 177 yards
McIlroy was able to hit the green, but he couldn't convert his long birdie putt and settled for a par.
Fourth Hole: Par 4, 384 yards
McIlroy was unable to take advantage of this tricky, but short par-four. The pin was located on the far left of the green, just a few paces from the water, and he failed to get the ball close on his approach. Another hole, another par.
Fifth Hole: Par 4, 466 yards
One of the tougher holes on this course, this long par-four gave many golfers fits on Sunday. McIlroy was happy to walk away with a par.
Sixth Hole: Par 4, 393 yards
This is where the trouble started for McIlroy on Sunday. He didn't hit a good shot into the green and settled for a disappointing bogey.
Seventh Hole: Par 4, 442 yards
Still uncomfortable after his bogey, McIlroy was thrilled to walk away from this hole with a par.
Eighth Hole: Par 3, 219 yards
This long par-three was a hole McIlroy would love to forget. He hit a poor shot off the tee and couldn't scramble for a par, settling for a disappointing bogey.
Ninth Hole: Par 5, 583 yards
Par-fives are holes McIlroy usually takes advantage of, thanks to his exceptional length off the tee and with his long irons. Unfortunately, he failed to hit a good shot off the tee and limped into back nine with another bogey—his third in four holes.
10th Hole: Par 4, 424 yards
After a short break, McIlroy hit the course once again. He took four solid strokes to stop the bleeding with a par on this hole.
11th Hole: Par 5, 535 yards
McIlroy was unable to take advantage of this short par-five. He settled for a disappointing par.
12th Hole: Par 4, 358 yards
The short par-fours bothered McIlroy on Sunday. He was unable to put together two solid strokes to get the ball close for a birdie putt and settled for another par.
13th Hole: Par 3, 181 yards
After a long, frustrating stretch of golf in the middle of his round, McIlroy started clicking on the back nine. He hit a gorgeous shot into the green and then drained his birdie putt.
14th Hole: Par 4, 467 yards
With some momentum behind him for the first time since the second hole, McIlroy cruised to a par on this hole.
15th Hole: Par 4, 449 yards
16th Hole: Par 5, 507 yards
After struggling on his previous two par-five attempts, McIlroy finally was able to take advantage of his length on this short par-five. He sunk his second birdie putt in a row to move to one-under-par for the day.
17th Hole: Par 3, 137 yards
McIlroy hit an amazing shot into this tough, island green. He took a bit off his pitching wedge and landed the ball hole high about 20 feet to the left of the pin. The ball then followed the slope of the green and ended up stopping a couple feet from the cup.
The PGA Tour on Twitter posted a nice video of his brilliant shot:
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
Final-round highlights: @McIlroyRory sticks it close at No. 17 and rolls in a birdie - http://t.co/g5GMuxe6oJ #THEPLAYERS2013-5-12 21:30:03
Needless to say, he drained the tap-in for birdie.
18th Hole: Par 4, 447 yards
Unfortunately, McIlroy hit the ball into the right rough on No. 18. He then failed to hit the green on his approach and scrambled for a par to finish the day with a score of two-under-par.
Final Take On McIlroy at the 2013 Players Championship
For a man who has never before made the cut in three previous attempts in this tournament, McIlroy made significant strides in the right direction.
The Stadium Course at the Players Championship is a brutal test of accuracy and nerves, and while McIlroy is one of the world's premier golfers, he does struggle on tighter courses.
Given his strong finish, there's a good chance McIlroy will continue to improve in this tournament next year. He surely has the game to make a run at winning it in future years, but he'll need to continue working on strategy and finesse.
All in all, this young man should be quite proud of his efforts this weekend, and I'm sure we'll see much more of him in the years to come.
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