Masters: McIlroy finishes strongly but remains frustrated

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FRUSTRATION was the overriding emotion for Rory McIlroy yesterday as his bid for a first Masters title ended just as the leaders teed off in their final round.

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman carded a closing 69 at Augusta, ten shots better than his third round, to finish the week two-over par, meaning he has yet to finish better than 15th in five attempts.

“I know I’ve played good enough golf here to win, it’s just a matter of stringing it all together,” McIlroy said. “I was in a good position and did not quite have it all yesterday and that really cost me. You have to be right on your game for 72 holes here, I played a five-hole stretch in five-over and that was really it. I played nicely again today, if I just limit the mistakes from yesterday I am right there.

“It’s frustrating. Sometimes you hit a good shot and all of a sudden it’s off the green; it is what it is and you have to embrace it. It’s Augusta and you’re going to get some good bounces, you’re going to get some bad. It will all even out in the end. My misses have been wide and that’s the thing that I need to sort out. A perfect example is the 11th yesterday. Instead of just missing it in the right rough you miss it 20 yards in the trees and you don’t have any shot.

“And then all of a sudden you chip it out and then you put your third in the water and it’s tough.”

As for his preparation, McIlroy added: “This is the first year I have not come here beforehand and I quite like that because you can over-think it.

“If you’re here for three or four days in advance it almost gets too much. It was nice to play the week before [in Texas] and not come and have a round, because apart from a slight change on the 14th green, it hasn’t really changed. And the course is so different from Wednesday night to Thursday morning anyway that it almost isn’t worth it.”

Meanwhile, England’s David Lynn vowed to return for another crack at Augusta National after a memorable Masters debut.

Playing only the third major of his career, Lynn held the clubhouse lead after an opening 68 and finished the day just two off the pace, while a second round of 73 meant he was only three off the lead at halfway.

A third round of 80 ended his chances but the 39-year-old bounced back with a 72 yesterday to finish five-over par, four shots better than three-time winner Phil Mickelson. “I need to have more patience,” Lynn admitted. “I was so disappointed with that round on Saturday, but that was just a couple of bad shots and then you’re signing for a score like that around here.

“Today it was playing as easy as it can and it’s nice that I could put in a solid performance. It is my first Masters so I’m learning from it and I’ll be back to challenge the course again.

“I’m not a prolific birdie maker, so I guess it is a sort of course that could suit me if I get used to it. But just every round you play you can learn new things and it was good getting some rounds under my belt. When you’re playing it, it’s hard to take it in because you’re so zoned in on what you’re doing, it’s hard to sort of smell the roses if you like. I remember looking at Amen Corner and thinking ‘This is awesome’.”