Rory McIlroy admitted he had ‘not played well enough to win’ after failing to secure victory at the Honda Classic in Florida.
McIlroy, who had dominated the event from the start, began Sunday’s day with a two shot lead at the Jack Nicklaus designed course but frittered shots away on the back nine and had to produce a stunning career shot into the 18th to book his place in a four-way play-off.
But the magic was to leave him again when it mattered on the first play-off hole.
The victory went to American Russell Henley who birdied that first play-off hole after finding the par-five 18th green in two and safely two putting, while the other three players - McIlroy, Russell Knox and Ryan Palmer - all missed their chances.
“This isn’t going to sink in for a while,” Henley said.
It was an incredible final hour at Palm Beach Gardens with the leading contenders unable to take a grip on proceedings.
“I was fortunate I was in the playoff,” said McIlroy.
“Seventy-four wasn’t good enough to get the job done.
“To go out with a two-shot lead, you have to play well enough to win the thing.
“If I had won today, I would have counted myself as lucky. I’ll pick myself up, get back it, try to get back at it at Doral and try to get the job done.”
Earlier in the day, world number one Tiger Woods withdrew after 12 holes of his final round due to back pain.
Woods shot 65 on Saturday to move into contention but was five over for his final round when he called it quits.
“Too early to tell,” Woods said in a statement about playing next week at Doral.
“I’ll get treatment every day to try to calm it down. Just don’t know yet. Wait until Thursday and see how it feels.”
Graeme McDowell failed to make any progress over the weekend and carded rounds of 72/71 to finish in a tie for 46th.