Wednesday 23 October 2019

Rory McIlroy in Quail Hollow self-destruction as Seamus Power loses $100,000 with double-bogey at the death

Rory McIlroy reacts to a putt attempt on the fifth green during the final round of the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 05, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy reacts to a putt attempt on the fifth green during the final round of the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 05, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy's final day hoodoo struck again in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow where a closing double-bogey cost Seamus Power a cool $100,000.

The world number four was just two strokes behind Max Homa, Joel Dahmen and Jason Dufner overnight and keen to grab his third win at Quail Hollow, just 24 hours after celebrating his 30th birthday.

But after patiently parring his first six holes, he came apart at the seams, dropping three shots in a four-hole, mid-round stretch to forget.

As Californian Homa (28) fired a four-under 67in a weather-delayed final round to win by three from Dahmen on 15-under-under, McIlroy endured another final day disappointment, carding a two-over 73 to finish tied eighth, eight shots behind the winner on seven-under-par.

West Waterford native Power blew his chances of a maiden win when he turned in two-over, mixing a birdie at the fifth with bogeys at the second, fourth and ninth.

But while rallied on the back nine, making four birdies and a bogey in his first five holes on the way home, and needed only a par at the 18th to finish eighth and clinch a cheque for $244,000, he racked up a costly six at the tough finishing hole.

After pulling his tee shot into the stream that runs up the left side, he took a penalty drop, fired his 200-yard third to 70 feet only to three-putt for a one-over 72 that left him tied for 13th on six-under.

Fifth and sixth in his previous two starts, the West Waterford man still picked up $143,780, taking his winnings for the past three weeks to $538,267.

That wasn't enough to qualify for next week's US PGA via a mini money list, but he still earned crucial FedExCup points to move from 117th to 101st — rising 78 places over the past three weeks — with the top 125 keeping their cards.

As for McIlroy, he looked poised to make a move in his quest for his third win at Quail Hollow when he gave himself a 25 footer for eagle at the seventh only to walk off the 10th green some 40 minutes later a hopeless seven shots off the lead.

His nightmare began when three-putted for par at the seventh, failed to  birdie the driveable eighth after a poor pitch and then three-putted the ninth from 50 feet to turn five strokes behind Dahmen and Homa on eight under.

Reeling now, the final straw came when he racked up a double bogey seven at the 10th, hooking his drive into the trees before taking three chips to find the putting surface from just short of the green, missing a six-footer.

He was playing with Justin Rose, who was three off the lead starting the day but slowly worked his way up the leaderboard, closing with a 68 to claim third on 11-under.

As Dufner slipped to a 73, finishing tied fourth with Sergio Garci and Rickie Fowler and Paul Casey on nine-under, Homa (28) separated himself from the field in his quest for a maiden win.

Playing flawlessly, he made birdies at the fifth, seventh, 10th and 11th to lead by three from Dahmen in 15-under with five to go when play was suspended for a violent hailstorm.

The world number 417 went on to play the remaining holes in level par to secure his maiden PGA Tour win in just his 69th start, picking up a cheque for $1,422,000 and a two-year exemption.

"It's like a dream," Homa said. "I didn't know if this day would ever come — let alone keeping my card.

"Right now it feels like everything. It's great for my family. I am getting married in a few months. Everything is good now."

On the European Tour, Finland’s Mikko Korhonen became a two-time European Tour winner when he beat Frenchman Benjamin Herbert with a birdie in sudden-death to win the Volvo China Open.

The Finn, who won last year's Shotclock Masters, was tied for the lead with Herbert and last week’s Trophée Hassan II champion Jorge Campillo with two holes to go.

But while the Helsinki native (38) edged ahead with a birdie four, Hebert drove the green at the short, par-four 18th and two-putted for a 69 to force a playoff on 20-under par.

Korhonen, who had signed for a 66, kept his cool and chipped to 12 feet on their return to the 18th to set up what proved to be a winning birdie and earned him a spot in next week's US PGA.

On the Challenge Tour, Antoine Rozner produced a five-under-par homeward nine to clinch the Challenge de España by four shots at Izki Golf.

The Frenchman (26) began the day three strokes behind overnight leader Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez but surged ahead after gaining five shots in four holes, signing for a bogey-free, six-under 66 to secure his maiden Challenge Tour win on 13-under.

Michael Hoey made five birdies in a closing 70 to finish ten strokes behind Rozner in tied 27th, earning €1,620 with Ruaidhri McGee, who 65th on nine-over after a 74, the leading Irishman at 26th in the rankings after picking up €520.

In amateur golf, Holywood's Tom McKibbin (16) continued his hot streak of form when he finished an impressive tied sixth behind Wallasey’s Joshua McMahon in the Lytham Trophy at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

After back-to-back wins in the McEvoy Trophy and the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, he closed with rounds of 71 and 72 to finish on 11-over 291, just three shots behind the winner.

Mallow’s James Sugrue tied for 14th on 295 with Massereene’s Tiarnan McLarnon 19th on 297 as Naas’ Robert Brazill and Galway’s Ronan Mullarney tied for 24th on 299.

In the Munster Strokeplay Championship at Cork Golf Club, Galway's Joe Lyons (46) beat Waterford's Eanna Griffin with a par four at the second extra hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Seven strokes behind Lyons on two-over after a third round 71, Griffin closed with a 70 to Lyon's 77 to leave them a shot clear of Carton House's Keith Egan on level par 288.

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