There was a nightmarish sense of deja vu for Rory McIlroy on the 12th hole at Cherry Hills yesterday as, incredibly, he four-putted at this innocuous par three for the second time in 24 hours.
McIlroy appeared to have shaken off Saturday's shocking treble-bogey six at 12 as he surged confidently back up the leaderboard at The BMW Championship with a brace of birdies and a superb eagle in the first seven holes of his final round.
The mental fatigue the 25-year-old had shown as he took four to get down from inside five feet on that 12th green during Saturday's two-over-par 72 had evaporated.
Or so we thought as McIlroy putted with confidence similar to that he'd shown during his sensational summertime hat-trick at The Open, Bridgestone and US PGA ,needing just 10 putts on his outward half yesterday.
That takes into account a phenomenal pitch-and-run from 52 yards for eagle after driving into deep rough short of the green at seven. Other highlights of that front nine included a 12-foot putt for birdie at four and one from 26 feet for another at five.
Though he missed from five-feet for birdie at the par five 11th, there was no hint of the mental aberration to come at the next, an innocent-enough 204-yard par three, especially when McIlroy swept his tee shot to 19 feet.
Yet, after rolling his first putt three feet past, the world's greatest player inexplicably missed the one back. Adding insult to insanity, McIlroy, somehow hit bogey wide of the cup. Now four feet three inches away, all golf winced as the Holywood ace marked his ball, replaced it and then, thank heaven, holed out for a five.
"Oh dear," he said later. "When I hit the first putt, it was a little too firm. I concentrated over the second determined not to drop another shot at the hole but missed again. To be honest, the last one was the toughest of them bit I managed to make it."
To his eternal credit, the World No 1 regained his composure, polishing off a 14-footer for par at 14 before making birdies at 16 and 17 for a truly astonishing final round 66 in the circumstacnes.
At eight-under, McIlroy finished six off the lead of winner Billy Horschel but deep enough inside the top-10 in Denver to be sure to starting next week's Tour Championship in third in FedEx points charts and certain to land the Cup and $10m bonus if he wins in Atlanta. Graeme McDowell won't be going there but finished his last tournament before the Ryder Cup with a satisfying 67.
Fortune favoured the timid in the Omega European Masters in the Swiss Alps. American David Lipsky, noting his opponent Graeme Storm had driven into trouble on the first tie hole, laid-up from 87 yards in a fairway bunker, then chipped and putted for a winning four as the Englishman could do no better than bogey five.
In fairness, Los Angeles native Lipsky, 26, forced the tournament into extra time with a brilliant birdie at his 72nd hole in regulation, a final round 65 propelling him alongside Storm on 18-under.
Overnight leader Storm, who won a €126,000 BMW i8 sports car with a hole-in-one at 11 on Saturday, shot a 68 in the final round, then struck his tee-shot in sudden death way right into trees and had to pitch out sideways.
Remarkably, Romain Wattel landed an even better ace at 11 yesterday but the prize had gone. Yet BMW invited the Frenchman to choose any car of his fancy on display in the tented village and drive it free for a year.
Gareth Maybin surged into 110th on the European money list as the €46,613 cheque he earned in a tie for ninth on 13-under boosted his earnings this season €191,432. The Ballyclare favourite closed with a 67, posting four rounds in the 60s for the first time since Hong Kong in 2010.
Shane Lowry earned €31,912 in 13th on 11-under. Two-under through seven, the Clara native knocked the wind out of his sails with a double-bogey five at 11 and signed for a 70.
Peter Lawrie failed to build on Saturday's sensational 62, shooting 73 to finish 40th on six-under (worth €13,570), two ahead of Michael Hoey, who banked €7,635 after a 70. Padraig Harrington slid to 73rd on one-over (earning €3,441) after back-to-back 72s at the weekend.