Rory McIlroy crashes out of World Match Play in sudden-death play-off against Cameron Young

Rory McIlroy lost to Cameron Young in a play-off

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy hopes of heading to the Masters on the back of victory were dashed when he blew a two-up lead and lost to Cameron Young on the 19th in the semi-finals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Championship in Texas.

The world number three looked poised to continue his impressive build-up to the opening men’s Major of the season at Austin Country Club.

But after battling into a two-up lead with three to play, the Co Down star (33) saw Young birdie the 16th and 18th to force sudden-death, then advance to this evening’s final with a birdie four at the 19th, the par-five 12th, despite driving into a bad lie in a fairway bunker.

Still seeking his first PGA Tour win, Young will now face Sam Burns, who caused a surprise when he came back from two-down with six to play beat defending champion and world number one Scottie Scheffler on the 21st.

Both McIlroy and Scheffler were left to wonder what might have been just 11 days before the start of the Masters as they let leads slip coming down the stretch to lose in extra holes.

"Feeling obviously pretty bad,” said McIlroy, who now faces Scheffler in the Consolation Match. “Two-up with three to play, but Cam played great. He birdied 16 and 18 and then made a hell of a birdie there after getting an unlucky break with the tee shot.

"Yeah, I just didn't do enough over those last four holes to close him out and when you don't do that and you've got, you're up against a player of Cam's calibre that's what's going to happen.

"So disappointing, but try to regroup and go out and try to win a match this afternoon."

McIlroy and Young traded birdies at the first but while the Co Down man made his third bogey of the week at the third to lose the hole to Young’s birdie and fall one- own, he soon took control.

After missing a birdie chance from nine feet to win the fourth, he birdied the fifth and par-five sixth to go one up, then made a 10-footer for birdie at the ninth to turn two up.

McIlroy had missed birdie chances at the eighth and 10th but he made no mistake from 16 feet at the 11th, forcing Young to make an eight-footer there just to remain two down.

The four-time Major winner opened the door when he made an ugly six at the 12th, hooking his approach from a fairway bunker straight left into the water.

But while Young failed to match McIlroy’s chip and putt birdie at the 279-yard 13th and found himself two down again, he got back to one down with a two-putt birdie at the par-five 16th, where McIlroy had to lay up after driving into sand.

They halved the 17th but McIlroy couldn’t repeat his magical drive of Thursday on the 18th and Young made a seven-footer for birdie to square the match to force sudden-death.

The American then made a miraculous birdie four at the 19th to advance, curling in a right to left breaking nine-footer for birdie, the par-five 12th, despite having to lay up from a fairway bunker.

McIlroy was short right of the green in two but after chipping to eight feet, his putt to extend the match never threatened the hole.

Scheffler looked in trouble when Burns birdied the first three holes to go three up.

But the Louisiana native (26) gifted the world number one the fifth when he drove into the hazard and had to take a penalty drop.

Scheffler was relentless from there, making an 18-footer at the par-five sixth to go one up before adding three birdies in a row from the eighth.

Burns bogeyed the ninth and 10th to find himself two down but what looked like being a comfortable win for Scheffler also went to sudden-death.

Burns birdied the 13th from 10 feet to cut the gap to one hole, got up and down from 90 yards to win the 15th in birdie and square the match, then followed a half in birdies at the 16th with a sensational two at the 17th, where he ripped his tee shot to 11 inches to go one up.

But Scheffler showed his class at the 18th, rolling in a five-footer to force extra holes after Burns had missed from 10 foot for the match.

They moved on to the par-five 12th for the first extra hole and halved that in birdies before Scheffler hit a 95-yard approach to four feet at the 13th.

Burns looked to resigned to his fate after missing his 20-footer but Scheffler missed his birdie putt and it all ended at the 14th, where Burns made a 15-footer for birdie and victory.