x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Improved form from Rory McIlroy not enough for victory in Texas

The world No 2 is pleased with his performance after second-place finish behind Martin Laird as he gears up for bid to win the Masters.

Rory McIlroy was upbeat despite finishing second in Texas behind Martin Laird.
Rory McIlroy was upbeat despite finishing second in Texas behind Martin Laird.

A final round 66 from Rory McIlroy was not enough for him to return to winning ways as Martin Laird punched his ticket to The Masters by firing a closing round of nine-under 63 to capture the PGA Tour's Texas Open by two strokes on Sunday.

The 30-year-old Scotsman matched the course record and snapped a United States win streak on the PGA Tour that dated back to October 2012.

McIlroy got within one stroke of the lead when he birdied the 14th hole, but the Northern Irishman ended two back at minus-12 after a final-round 66.

Laird, who entered the day five shots adrift of the leader, rolled in birdies on his final three holes Sunday at the TPC San Antonio.

"I felt really good coming here because I like this golf course. I played well here a couple of years ago," said Laird, who finished his third PGA Tour victory at 14-under 274.

"I wanted to stay aggressive. Finally, in a final round my putter got hot. I can't believe it."

Laird also earned his third consecutive trip to The Masters. He tied for 20th in 2011 and shared 57th last year in his previous Augusta efforts.

World No 2 McIlroy finished two shots back of Laird to post his best finish of the year.

"I think over the last three rounds I eliminated the stupid mistakes and mental errors," McIlroy said. "To finish this tournament with a round like today is great going into Augusta.

"I am really pleased with my game this has been a great week for me."

McIlroy birdied the par-five No. 2 then had two consecutives birdies just before the turn on number eight and nine. He caught fire on the back nine with four more birdies over his last seven holes, including the par-five 18. He also had two bogeys in the round.

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