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Rory McIlroy at British Open 2016: Sunday Leaderboard Score and Twitter Reaction

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2016

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot from the 4th tee during the final round of the British Open Golf Championship at the Royal Troon Golf Club in Troon, Scotland, Sunday, July 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Rory McIlroy signed off at the 2016 British Open on Sunday with his best round of the competition, carding a four-under 67 at Royal Troon in Scotland.

After he entered the day on level par, the score left him on four under overall. It was still a mixed round, though—his putting frequently cost him opportunities to pick up further shots, and his score could (and should) have been far better.   

Here is McIlroy's final scorecard:

Rory McIlroy's Scorecard
Hole123456789Out
Par44453543436
Round 2 Score43452443332
OverallE-1-1-1-2-3-3-3-4
Hole101112131415161718In
Par44443453435
Round 2 Score45533443435
Overall-4-3-2-3-3-3-4-4-4
The Open

Here is the live leaderboard:

     

Recap

In stark contrast to his start on Saturday, McIlroy began strongly and almost holed out on the first, per the European Tour:

The European Tour @EuropeanTour

Nearly a dream start for McIlroy... https://t.co/sxz2x8g3CJ

He then picked up a shot on the second thanks to a sublime approach shot that left him with a straightforward putt.

Tepid putts at the third and fourth cost him further birdies. ESPN.com's Jason Sobel believed his being out of contention was a blessing in disguise:

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Probably a good thing Rory McIlroy isn't closer to the lead, or all of these short missed putts would haunt him for a while.

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Nevertheless, after three bogeys in his first five on moving day, it was still an improvement overall.

Indeed, he also offered a more measured response than he did on Saturday. Rather than breaking one of his clubs, he hit back with two successive birdies to move into joint sixth place.

He probably should have done better than pars at the seventh and eighth—his putting was again disappointingbut another birdie at the ninth capped a strong front nine for the Northern Irishman, per the European Tour:

The European Tour @EuropeanTour

Lowest round on the course - Rory (-4 through 10). Lowest round in the clubhouse - Spieth/ Westwood (68s). https://t.co/AX4NTgEjVB

However, there was still an underlying sense of frustration running through his afternoon thanks to his poor short game. The 10th should have been another birdie after a superb approach, and two dropped shots at the 11th and 12th looked as though they would undo much of his good work.

BBC Sport commentator Conor McNamara summed up McIlroy's day:

Conor McNamara @ConorMcNamaraIE

"What could have been" Tee shots like Rory McIlroy Iron shots like Rory McIlroy Sadly, putting like me #TheOpen https://t.co/FxFj1IKcKG

Indeed, had his putting been on par with the rest of his game, he could have picked up twice as many birdies.

He regained his composure and worked his way back to four under with birdies at the 13th and 16th. The latter hole was where his 3-wood met its end on Saturday, per Joy Chakravarty of Sport360:

Joy Chakravarty @TheJoyofGolf

Rory McIlroy's golf clubs heave a sigh of relief following the birdie on the 16th. #TheOpen

Two pars finished off the 27-year-old's round, leaving SportsJOE.ie to wonder how he might have fared with better putting:

SportsJOE @SportsJOEdotie

That's 8 top-10 finishes for McIlroy in 11 major starts! Imagine if he was able to putt #TheOpen

Per BBC Sport's Ged Scott, McIlroy said of his round, "I was hoping to play that back nine under par at least one day this week, but it was not quite to be. If I could take anything back it would be the first nine holes on Saturday, but I've done pretty well, considering everything."

McIlroy's approach play showcased his talents on Sunday. If he can replicate that at the PGA Championship, he can put himself in contention there.

However, his putting let him down far too often. To truly give himself a chance in upcoming majors, he'll need to make serious improvements to his short game.

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