The Open: Mcllroy unhappy over missed chances

-Ikenna Okafor

Rory McIlroy boasted a lead heading into the final round of The Open, but a stunning display from winner Cameron Smith left the Northern Irishman ruing missed chances.

Another major slipped away from Rory McIlroy, with Cameron Smith producing a record-breaking performance on the back-nine to clinch the title.

It was agonising for McIlroy, who missed an eagle on the 18th for a chance to take the title to a four-hole shootout.

If he was told before the tournament that he’d finish on 18-under, McIlroy would’ve likely fancied his chances at lifting the trophy, but Smith broke the course record previously held by Tiger Woods with his 20-under par.

To rub further salt in the wounds, America’s Cameron Young produced an eagle on the 18th to leapfrog McIlroy in the standings, leaving him third despite his dominant first three rounds.

However, while McIlroy was understandably distraught, the 33-year-old was gracious in defeat.

“Disappointed obviously,” McIlroy said. “I felt like I didn’t do much wrong today, but I didn’t do much right either.

“It’s just one of those days where I played a really controlled round of golf. I did what I felt like I needed to just apart from (not) capitalising on the easier holes around the turn, nine, 12, 14.

“If I had made the birdies there from good positions, it probably would have been a different story.

“But, look, I got beaten by a better player this week; 20 under par for four rounds of golf around here is really, really impressive playing, especially to go out and shoot 64 today to get it done.

“I’ll rue a few missed putts that slid by, but it’s been a good week overall. I can’t be too despondent because of how this year’s going.

“I’m playing some of the best golf I’ve played in a long time. So it’s just a matter of keep knocking on the door, and eventually one will open.

McIlroy and his family were staying in a hotel overlooking the 18th hole of the Old Course and the 33-year-old admitted he kept imagining seeing his name on top of the leaderboard behind the green at the end of play.

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