McIlroy finishes strong but left to rue a disappointing Friday in Canada

Mark McGowan

Rory McIlroy playing the 17th (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Rory McIlroy shot 65, 64 over the weekend, but ultimately came up three shots shy as he went in search of a hat-trick of RBC Canadian Open titles, and it was his two-over 72 on Friday that ultimately did the damage.

But he’s taking the positives from a week where he came in a little cold after attending a friend’s wedding in Italy and celebrating good friend and caddie Harry Diamond’s birthday on the eve of the tournament.

“A good week,” was McIlroy’s characterisation. “Three really good rounds of golf, one not so good one. Felt a little out of sorts on Friday. Did a good range session and sort of rectified it. So, yeah, overall, three rounds out of four were really good and just that one disappointing one on Friday, but overall after a week off where I didn’t really, didn’t feel like I prepared as well as I probably could have, yeah, it was a solid week.”

With the Memorial Tournament this week and the U.S. Open at Pinehurst swiftly following, his performance over the weekend has him in a good frame of mind as, once again, his focus shifts towards trying to capture that elusive fifth major championship.

“Going into a big stretch of golf here and obviously it’s not, you want to come to tournaments and try to win every single one that you play in, but I think to build off, especially the weekend here, going into Memorial next week, and then obviously going into the U.S. Open the week after, we’ve got a lot of golf coming up, but really nice to see some good signs in my game this weekend,” he said.

“My goal was to at least make Bob shoot under par. I thought if I could get to 14 he would have to go out and shoot something in the 60s to win, so that was the goal. I came up one short of that, so I know — and it looks like he’s obviously under par for the day at the minute, so, but, yeah, that was really the goal was to try to at least make him earn it.”

Hunting National Opens is something that’s taken on added importance for McIlroy over the years, and his prior success at, and support for, the Canadian Open means that the home fans have taken him as one of their own.

“I think history and tradition and legacy are a really big part of the game of golf,” he explained. “This is one of the oldest championships in the world, as is, you know, the Scottish Open, as is, you know, yeah, the Opens definitely mean something else. It’s great that so many people, Golf Canada, RBC have gotten behind this RBC Canadian Open and made it really special. As I said, it’s a pleasure to come up here and play every year and I’m going to keep doing that until they tell me I can’t come over the border.”

Despite coming up short, McIlroy expressed his desire to see Robert MacIntyre win the tournament if, as expected, the world number three’s tally proved a couple shy, and he could empathise with MacIntyre’s struggles to settle into life on the PGA Tour having recently admitted to suffering homsickness.

“Absolutely,” he said when asked if he could relate. “I mean, Bob and I, we’re separated by a body of water in the Irish Sea, but we’re actually not that far away from each other where we grew up in Oban and Belfast. I can absolutely understand. It’s a big culture shock compared to the place where he grew up in Oban. You know, traveling around America, it’s a different world. Some people adapt a little quicker than others. Everyone has to try to find their right rhythm. It looks like Bob’s still figuring that out. It would be great to see him hang on and get that first PGA TOUR win.”

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