Rory McIlroy with record final Masters run as runner-up to Scottie Scheffler

Rory McIlroy celebrated his best ever Masters round and finishing position by admitting: “That’s as happy as I’ve ever been on a golf course”.

By Mark McMahon
Monday, 11th April 2022, 12:45 am
Updated Monday, 11th April 2022, 12:58 am

The popular Ulsterman and four-time major winner endeared himself further to the Augusta patrons on Sunday by shooting an eight-under par 64 to claim second place behind winner Scottie Scheffler.

Only two men in history have shot lower around the immaculate fairways at Magnolia Drive - Nick Price in 1986 and Greg Norman in 1996, both with 63s.

McIlroy gave both a run for their money as he superbly posted six birdies and an eagle in a final round that was blemish free.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts after holing out from the bunker for a birdie during the final round at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta. He finished runner-up to America's Scottie Scheffler. Pic by PA.

Three of them came via his wedge, with chip-ins occurring at holes seven, 10 and 18.

Meanwhile, his eagle at the par-five 15th had the ever-expanding galleries accompanying his every shot in awe of what was unravelling.

Unfortunately, a late, late surge to put pressure on Scheffler never materialised - there was simply too much to do.

Yet those memorable, breathtaking scenes on 15 were replicated on 18 as the 32-year-old closed his latest Masters mission with an excellently executed three from the greenside bunker.

McIlroy, himself, couldn’t help get caught up in the moment, too, as he celebrated what he had just achieved.

The difficulties he’s experienced at Augusta are well documented, in spite of now seven top-10 results and a fourth-placed finish in 2015.

Yet he helped put some of those demons to bed with a round that will no doubt provide him with a major boost - not just for the rest of the season but for his return to Georgia in 2023.

And as he soaked up the well-deserved adulation, McIlroy admitted it’s a feeling that will prove hard to beat.

“To play as well as I did and then to finish like this, I mean, it’s just absolutely incredible,’ said McIlroy. “This tournament never ceases to amaze.

“Yeah, that’s as happy as I’ve ever been on a golf course right there.

“That was an incredible. I’ve never heard roars like on the 18th green. It was really cool.”

McIlroy started the day tied ninth on one-over-par after rounds of 73, 73 and 71 - and 10 shots adrift of newly-crowned champion Scheffler.

Yet, in the end, he moved up to second and five behind the American as the rest of the chasing pack crumbled under the pressure.

“I gave it a great go, and I can’t ask any more of myself,’ added McIlroy. “I went out there today, shot my best ever score at Augusta, and it’s my best finish ever.

“Not quite good enough, but I’ll come back next year and keep trying.”