Rory McIlroy Finishes Strong at 2020 Masters, Shoots 3 Under in Final Round

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2020

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits on the fourth fairway during the final round of the Masters golf tournament Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Rory McIlroy closed his 2020 Masters strong with a 69 in Round 4 on Sunday, finishing 11 strokes under par for the tournament.  

The score put him in a tie for fifth alongside Dylan Frittelli, although he ended nine strokes behind winner Dustin Johnson.

McIlroy began the week with a dreadful 75 in Round 1 but put himself in contention with three straight rounds under par. It's enough to wonder what might have been if he had played a little better to start the event.

It was still enough to finish inside the top 10 for the sixth time in the last eight years at Augusta National Golf Club.

The 31-year-old entered Sunday eight strokes off the lead, with nine players ahead of him on the leaderboard.

He narrowed the gap in a hurry to start his final round, carding three birdies on the front nine to score a 33.

It was enough to excite those following along that McIlroy could get into contention:

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His birdie on No. 8 was especially impressive, as he finished under par in each round on the par-five hole.

McIlroy couldn't keep the momentum on the back nine, however, shooting a five on No. 10 for his first bogey of the day:

He bounced back with a birdie on No. 13, although it came after narrowly missing an eagle putt. He also missed a short birdie chance on the 14th hole.

Considering the deficit, he needed to make those putts if he wanted to win.

The mistakes continued when he hit it into the water on the par-five 15th before saving par.

McIlroy closed the round with five straight pars, finishing with an even 36 on the back nine.

It was an impressive overall round for the No. 5 player in the world, who had four birdies and just one bogey. He had shorter drives in Round 4 (average of 301 yards) but improved his accuracy while hitting 12 of 14 fairways.

This helped him stay in control and post a low number while many struggled around him. Despite plenty of criticism, he finished near the top in one of the biggest events of the year.

Questions remain about McIlroy's consistency, especially considering his rough starts.

Per Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal, the Northern Irish star is plus-28 in the first round at majors since 2015 but entered Sunday minus-56 in Rounds 2-4.

Even with four major titles on his resume, it's easy to imagine how many more he could have with a better opening round. He will hope to figure things out in time for his next major in 2021.

     

Note: All hole information and statistics courtesy of Masters.com unless otherwise noted.