It started with a back-nine collapse at the 2011 Masters, and in the decade since, he’s yet to put it all together at Allister MacKenzie’s masterpiece. And although he’s won four majors in the years since his first heartbreak, the green jacket has eluded him.
That’s not to say he hasn’t had some nice finishes — McIlroy owns six top-10 finishes at the Masters during his career — but he’s rarely been a legitimate challenger for the green jacket during the final round.
That all changed on Sunday.
McIlroy began the day 10 shots behind Scottie Scheffler’s 54-hole mark. The margin seemed too great to make any sort of fireworks, even for an all-time talent like McIlroy. But four hours after his 1:50 p.m. tee time, he provided the biggest roar Augusta National has heard all week.
When McIlroy’s bunker shot from the right of the 18th green found the bottom of the cup, it put the finishing touch on a final-round 64 — tied for the lowest in Masters history.
“To finish like this, it’s just absolutely incredible,” McIlroy said. “This tournament never ceases to amaze.”
The 32-year-old carded six birdies, an eagle and zero bogeys on the day. It was the only bogey-free round of the week.
McIlroy’s spectacular Sunday vaulted him up the leaderboard and put him alone in second place. But with the World No. 1 ahead of him and playing near-flawless golf, it wasn’t enough to get him the green jacket he so craves.
“Probably come up a little bit short, but I gave it a great go, and I can’t ask any more of myself,” McIlroy said. “I went out there today, shot my best ever score at Augusta, and I’m probably — it’s going to be my best finish ever. Probably not quite good enough, but I’ll come back next year and keep trying.”