Rory McIlroy at Emirates Australian Open 2013: Daily Scores, Leaderboard Updates
Rory McIlroy's quest to recapture top form takes him to the Royal Sydney Golf Club for the 2013 Emirates Australian Open.
The Northern Irishman showed positive signs of recovery during the recent DP World Tour Championship, especially during a final-round 67 which propelled him to a top-five finish.
Competing with him this week will be a whole host of Australians, including Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy, both previous winners of the tournament.
McIlroy is one of just two Europeans in the field, both looking to become only the second winner from their continent in the trophy's 110-year history.
Bleacher Report will track his progress throughout the tournament.
Day 4, -18 (66), Winner
Rory McIlroy showed class is permanent after a superb closing round of six-under-par to win the Emirates Australian Open at the Royal Sydney golf club. The Northern Irishman overhauled a four shot overnight deficit from home favourite Adam Scott to finish one shot clear atop of the leader-board and secure his first title of the calendar year.
Final Standings (via Golf.org.au)
After an inconsistent third round, McIlroy looked to be out of contention with Adam Scott taking a comfortable lead into the final day.
But he was given an immediate fillip of encouragement after Scott three-putted the first hole. Nerves in the final round of his home tournament? Perhaps, and it was a chance McIlroy jumped upon.
Delighted to get the win today down under!! Great battle with Adam, absolute pleasure going down the stretch with such a great champion!
Delighted to get the win today down under!! Great battle with Adam, absolute pleasure going down the stretch with such a great champion!— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) December 1, 2013
What ensued was practically a match-play contest between the two players as they were well ahead of the field.
Scott wrestled that shot back with a birdie at the second before McIlroy responded again with stunning approach at the fifth setting up for a birdie. The Northern Irishman was on fire and an eagle at the seventh got him to within one shot of the Aussie leader.
Not long after he was level, with a birdie at the eight. But Scott ensured he lead at the turn with a birdie at the ninth.
That ensured a dramatic finale was in store with both players giving their all to secure the title. Scott, roared on by his home crowd nearly bagged an eagle at the 13th, but McIlroy continued to hang on to his coattails, matching Scott’s wonderful approach shot and coming close to an eagle himself.
Scott’s putting woes continued at 16 when he three-putted again, but his one shot lead preserved as McIlroy found himself plugged in the bunker.
It meant that Scott marched down the last knowing a solid hole would be enough to secure the title. But McIlroy is made of stern stuff in these pressure situations and produced a good tee-shot before guiding a delightful approach to within ten feet of the flag.
Scott by comparison overhit his approach as well as the subsequent chip shot back onto the green. His par putt came up agonizingly short and unbelievably, McIlroy had a put for the title. The Northern Irishman obliged, knocking it in with ease and securing a dramatic and deserved victory.
The two-time major champion was delighted with the victory after a tough year (from Sky Sports):
It's been a frustrating year but I've worked hard and it's been a process, trying to get back to winning golf tournaments, and it was nice to do that today.
I just sort of stayed patient, I knew that anything can happen on this golf course, if you just hit it into a tricky spot like Adam did on 18. Luckily I was just able to make that putt at the end when I needed it.
McIlroy needs to build from this result and ensure 2014 is a much more prosperous one than 2013. With his form picking up and that glint in his prevalent once again, you can’t help but suspect it will be.
Day 3, -12 (70), Second
Rory McIlroy maintained his Emirates Australian Open challenge on Saturday, although an inconsistent round of 2-under-par 70 saw him drop back to four shots off leader Adam Scott.
With just 18 holes remaining, McIlroy will need to go some way to catch the in-form Australian but remains well-positioned to challenge for a first title of 2013.
Leaderboard (via Golf.org.au)
|2||Rory McIlroy||Northern Ireland||-12|
McIlroy's round began well with a birdie at the first, however quickly threatened to be derailed within the opening few holes of the day.
When a dropped shot at the fourth was followed by a double bogey on the fifth, it appeared that McIlroy's challenge at the Royal Sydney course may be coming to a premature end.
However, the former World No. 1 was able to regain his composure and card four birdies over the turn to put himself back into strong contention.
The twice-failed chip shot on the fifth which saw him drop back will be a source of regret for the 24-year-old on an otherwise strong day. On such mistakes, though, has the Northern Irishman seen several tournaments slip away this year.
He is unfortunate also that Masters champion Scott is in fine fettle, which continued on Saturday with a four-under-par round of 68.
Post-round, McIlroy admitted he faced a difficult task to end his trophy drought. He told Reuters, via the Daily Mail:
I played a good back nine, it could have been a couple better, I felt I left a couple out there. But obviously I'm four back now and I've got a tough job on my hands to try and catch Adam.
Bar his early mishap, McIlroy has been in fine form around the greens this week which will be a major positive to take away from the event.
He will, though, have to improve upon finding just 72 percent of greens in regulation on Saturday, per the tournament website, if he is to catch his rival for the tournament crown.
Day 2, -10 (65), Second
Friday's action saw McIlroy thrust himself up the leaderboard by shooting a seven-under round of 65.
The Northern Irishman progressed to second place, just two shots behind Adam Scott at the top, who managed a two-under score of 70.
The Australian's double-bogey at the fourth and bogeys on the fifth, 15th and 17th provided McIlroy with an opportunity to strike, and the 24-year-old did not disappoint.
Leaderboard (via Golf.org.au)
|2||Rory McIlroy||Northern Ireland||-10|
It was all smiles for the man who has endured a testing year.
McIlroy drove well in the opening round but gave away four strokes with less than stellar putting, something he managed to tighten up during Round 2.
He birdied his first hole of the day (the 10th), aided by some light rain that softened the greens. McIlroy then birdied the 13th, 15th, 16th and 18th, dropping only one shot along the way as he turned in 32.
With more severe weather to arrive later in the day it was important that McIlroy cashed in, and four more birdies on the front nine—for the loss of one bogey—fired him to 10-under.
Scott was one of the later starters and therefore had the trickier conditions with which to deal, so he will arguably be pleased to come away with a 70 that ensures he retains a two-shot cushion.
Three bogeys and a double-bogey nightmare at the fourth were the lowlights of Scott's round, giving McIlroy renewed hope of victory, per Darren Walton of the Sydney Morning Herald:
I played well. I putted much better than I did yesterday, which was a big positive, and I'm in a great position going into the weekend.
It would have been very easy for me to get frustrated yesterday and I was getting a little frustrated because I bogeyed 10 and 11 to go back to even par and I'm thinking to myself: `I'm 10 behind - not just 10 behind anyone - I'm 10 behind Scotty.
McIlroy and Scott will now go head-to-head in a final day pairing that is sure to excite fans in Australia.
Day 1, -3 (69), Tied-16th
Thursday's first round provided the setting for a reasonable start from McIlroy, who shot a three-under round of 69.
That left him tied for 16th and just four shots behind second place. However, Adam Scott's aggressive start already takes him seven strokes clear of the Northern Irishman.
The Australian shot a course-record round of 62 and looks in inspired form.
Leaderboard (via www.PGA.org.uk)
|2=||John Young Kim||USA||-7|
|9=||Brady Watt (AM)||AUS||-4|
McIlroy played in the company of Geoff Ogilvy and Matthew Jones. He began in steady fashion, picking up two birdies on the front nine, at two and six.
His driving looked impressive but he continually fluffed his lines on the green, missing a number of inviting birdie attempts.
His solid opening was then further undone by consecutive bogeys at 10 and 11, taking his round back to level par.
Birdies at 12, 14 and 18 helped repair the damage and moved McIlroy back up the leaderboard, although Scott's rapid start will leave McIlroy ruing those errors.
After his round, Reuters recorded his comments to reporters via The New York Times:
Missed three or four short ones out there. Wasteful, yeah. I felt it could have been a lot lower. Off the tee, I'm driving the ball the best I ever have, it's just a matter of being more efficient and scoring better.
That's really it. I only played the par-fives at one-under and the way I'm driving it, I should be playing those at four-under.
Clearly there was despondency in McIlroy's own analysis of his play, with Scott's lead already looking tough to overhaul.