Rory McIlroy in Contention at 2018 British Open After 1-Under Final Round

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2018

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy watches his iron shot on the 8th tee during his final round on day 4 of The 147th Open golf Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland on July 22, 2018. (Photo by Andy BUCHANAN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy carded a final round of one-under 70 on Sunday to leave himself tied for third place at six under in the 2018 British Open. He would eventually finish tied for second.

Francesco Molinari and Xander Schauffele both sat one shot ahead of McIlroy when the Northern Irishman finished his round, but neither had finished. The Italian would take the win, bettering McIlroy's score by two shots.

McIlroy's day started with promise, as the 2014 Open winner hit an enormous shot with his driver on the first. The momentum soon faded, however, as his struggles with the putter surfaced once again.

Bogeys on the second and fifth holes left him two over on the day and well behind the leaders, who were having far more success with their approach play.

Per BBC Sport, he simply didn't seem to have it early on Sunday:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

Not happening for Rory McIlroy so far today. Two bogeys in the first five holes sets him back to -3, six shots off the lead. #TheOpen live ⛳👉 https://t.co/DVIGPELv9D #bbcgolf https://t.co/wV27DWpjav

But after those initial setbacks, the 29-year-old settled into a groove. He cleaned up his short game and started to limit his mistakes, leading to a run of three straight par scores.

A fantastic approach on the ninth gave him his first birdie on the day, to the delight of SportsJOE:

SportsJOE @SportsJOEdotie

Rory McIlroy gets his first birdie of the day. Just 4 off the lead.... https://t.co/mYUaMzxMx5

And after another par to start the back nine, the four-time major winner birdied the par-four 11th after almost driving the green. Now at par for the round and with his approaches starting to fall, momentum was with McIlroy.

Elsewhere, the leaders were struggling, and the gap started to shrink:

Ewan Murray @mrewanmurray

In other news, Rory McIlroy is far from out of this...

A bogey on the 12th halted his momentum, and after a par on the 13th, his bid to win the Open seemed to be over.

But McIlroy wasn't finished just yet. A stunning approach on the 14th left him with a long putt for eagle, and in that crucial moment, his putter finally came through:

The Open @TheOpen

EAGLE at 14 for @McIlroyRory. From nowhere he is back in a share of the lead. Full scoring https://t.co/gVDayzkpiZ #TheOpen https://t.co/NnZXoLtQud

That putt moved him into a six-way tie for the lead at six under for the tournament.

Back-to-back pars kept him in the running, and a wonderful save from the sand gave him anther par on the 17th. He missed a birdie putt to grab a share of the lead on the final hole, leaving him tied for third and forced to wait as Molinari, Schauffele and others finished their rounds.

With a birdie on the 18th, Molinari finished eight under. McIlroy, Justin Rose, Schauffele and Kevin Kisner all took a share of second place.