Rory McIlroy clearly cannot wait for his frustrating and first winless season in nine years to end.
Image by Fran Caffrey – Golffile.ie
And, in what will be a sad reflection of his year, McIlroy will putt-out in his final event of the year at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship not on the 18th hole of the Old Course where he brilliantly earned his Tour in the same event a decade ago.
No, McIlroy, and due to only just making the third day cut-off right on the four-under par mark, will end a forgettable 2017 on the ninth hole and close to the furthermost part of of the famed St. Andrews course.
His third round was a sour cocktail of eight birdies but also two bogeys and an 11th hole double bogey in his round of 68 at Kingsbarns Links for an overall four-under tally.
It sees him head to his last event of his ninth full season in the pro ranks a distant 14 shots behind defending champion, Tyrrel Hatton who opened-up a commanding five-shot leading cushion at 18-under par.
For three days now McIlroy has recorded a double-bogey on each day and in what has been uncharacteristic showing over the course of his injury-ridden year.
Indeed, McIlroy looked headed in missing the third day cut when he took double-bogey at his 11th hole or the second hole of the course that saw him drop to one-under.
The World No. 6 regrouped with four birdies in succession to move safely to five-under but only to leave a fifth birdie in a row short at his 16th ahead of bogeying the last.
“I just wish I hadn’t bogeyed the last but I did what I needed to do to here tomorrow,” he said.
“It was a bit of an up-and-down day. I had eight birdies, two bogeys and a double out there, so there’s a bit of everything.
“So, glad to get one more round around in at St. Andrews before I call it a season and get ready for next year”.
McIlroy will play the final round, and teeing-up from the 10th hole at 10.48am local time) without the company of his father, Gerry as their team score saw the cut from that aspect of this week’s $US 5m event.
It will mean Gerry McIlroy joining his wife and also McIlroy’s wife, Erica, who is visiting the St. Andrews region for a first occasion.
“It’s been a really nice week and the Dunhill is always a really enjoyable week,” said McIlroy.
“It’s very social. You get together with a few people and have a few drinks or have a bit of dinner. It’s really nice and it’s great to play with three — well not just three, but obviously the practice rounds with my dad and have a stroll around. He played well. We knew we needed to do something special coming in and he made a birdie, net eagle, on 7 to sort of maybe give us a chance. We just didn’t do enough the last couple of holes.
“It’s been a really great week, and also Erica is here, my mom’s here, and we’ve had a really nice week just the family and really enjoying ourselves.
“So, I will just go out and enjoy myself. Last competitive round of the year. It’s going to be around St. Andrews, which is nice.
“I will try and shoot a good score and end the season on a bit of a positive note”.
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