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Rory McIlroy comes up short at St Andrews again as Ryan Fox wins Dunhill Links Championship


Rory McIlroy played well again but couldn't get the win at St Andrews. Steve Welsh/PA Wire.

Rory McIlroy played well again but couldn't get the win at St Andrews. Steve Welsh/PA Wire.

Rory McIlroy played well again but couldn't get the win at St Andrews. Steve Welsh/PA Wire.

Rory McIlroy extended his lead at the top of the DP World Tour rankings, but his wait for a win at Old Course goes on after he finished two shots behind New Zealand's Ryan Fox in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.

The world number two closed with a second successive six-under 66 to finish tied fourth on 13-under par with France's Antoine Rozner as Fox fired a 68 to win by a shot from England's Callum Shinkwin and Sweden's Alex Noren on 15-under.

Bidding for some consolation at the Old Course after his near miss in The Open, McIlroy went into the final round tied with playing partner Pádraig Harrington, eight shots behind Richard Mansell, who would end up tied seventh after a 76.

But while he made six birdies in the first 13 holes to tie for the lead, the four-time Major champion couldn't birdie the par-five 14th and after dropping a shot at the 17th, where he found the Road Hole bunker, he birdied the last to clinch his sixth top-10 in nine starts in the event — or eight in 11 if you include The Open in 2010 and 2022.

"Played well again today," said McIlroy, who correctly forecast that a closing 64 would give him a chance of winning his third title this year. "I did everything that I wanted to do. I didn't make birdie on 14, which sort of halted the momentum that I had, and then it was a bit of a struggle on the way in."

He added: "I came up two or three short of my target in the end, and it looks like that target probably would have been good enough to at least get in the playoff."

Fox (35) started the day four shots behind Mansell but turned in three-under 33 and picked up two more strokes to head to the 17th with a two-stroke lead.

A bogey there saw his lead cut to just one stroke but he went on to par the 18th to claim his second win of the season, and moves to third in the DP World Tour Rankings and an estimated 25th in the world, securing his Masters debut next year.

"I definitely feel like he was there with me today," said Fox, who was second in the 2021 Pro-Am with cricketer Shane Warne, who passed away earlier this year. "He was missed by a lot of people this week, especially me. It was a strange feeling at the start of the week but I also felt like he was there helping out and it was certainly nice to do it for him this week."

Harrington tied for 17th on nine-under after a 70 as McIlroy extended his lead over Matt Fitzpatrick at the top of the rankings and will bid to become European number one for the fourth time in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai from 17-20 November.

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At the Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi, Séamus Power also started the final round eight shots off the lead but a one-under 71 left tied 29th in the clubhouse on eight-under at the Country Club of Jackson.

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