Costly final day errors from Rory McIlroy opens door for Adam Scott at WGC Championship
Published 06/03/2016 | 23:10
A disappointing final round of two over par scuppered Rory McIlroy’s of winning his third WGC title in the Cadillac Championship as Adam Scott claimed victory in Florida despite some final hole drama.
The 35-year-old Australian saved par after an errant tee shot at the last to complete a three-under-par 69 and 12-under 276 total for a one-shot victory over American Bubba Watson, who shot 68 on the difficult Blue Monster course at Doral.
McIlroy took a three-shot lead over defending champion Dustin Johnson and in-form Australian Adam Scott into the final round as he looked to join Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players since 1945 to win 12 times on the PGA Tour before the age of 27.
And a string of pars was enough for the four-time major winner to edge another stroke ahead when Johnson and Scott both double-bogeyed the third hole as Doral's Blue Monster course lived up to its name.
However, McIlroy then bogeyed the seventh - his first dropped shot since the second hole of his second round - and found water with his approach to the eighth, the same hole where he threw his three iron into the lake in frustration 12 months ago.
The 26-year-old at least kept his temper in check this time and saved par after taking a penalty drop and pitching to six feet, but failed to repeat the feat after finding sand off the tee on the ninth.
That dropped McIlroy into a tie for the lead with England's Danny Willett and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, with Phil Mickelson also briefly reaching 10 under par with a birdie on the ninth only to bogey the 10th after driving into the water.
Willett had birdied the first, seventh and ninth and missed from three feet for another on the eighth, while Watson birdied the first and then holed from 60 feet for an eagle on the eighth.
Scott, who won the Honda Classic last Sunday, began the day three shots behind third-round leader McIlroy and fell further behind when he double-bogeyed the third and fifth holes.
The world number nine, however, responded with a run of six birdies in nine holes from the sixth.
At the 18th, Scott hit his tee shot in the right rough seven feet behind a palm tree that was in his direct line to the green.
Scott missed the green left, but was fortunate when his ball stayed out of the water coming to rest atop the heavy grass, just inside the hazard line. He managed to get up and down for his par.