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McIlroy ends Masters on high note

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McIlroy sets sights on 2010 Masters

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy finished his first Masters on a high note by shooting 31 on the back nine for a final-round 70 at Augusta.

The 19-year-old carded five birdies in seven holes from the 11th to finish on two under and in a 10-way tie for 20th.

Fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell finished as the leading European on four under after a 69.

Sandy Lyle (71), Paul Casey (69), Justin Rose (71) and Ian Poulter (74) also finished on two under.

Europe's 10-year wait for a Masters champion goes on, but McIlroy's final day performance will further strengthen hopes that he could one day add to past winners of a Green Jacket.

He ended his up-and-down tournament with his best round of the week, despite struggling on the front nine with bogeys at 3 and 7 and a double bogey at 6, with only a birdie at the par-four 9th preventing him from going out in 40.

A further bogey followed at the 10th but McIlroy birdied 11, 13, 15, 16 and 17 and left another birdie attempt just short at the last.

I felt like I've left a few shots out there, it could have been a lot better, but a 69 is pleasing

England's Ross Fisher

And McIlroy, who narrowly made the cut and disqualification after the second round, had mixed emotions after the conclusion of his first professional major.

"It was a good way to end a really good week but I wanted to play a little better and I thought I could have played a little better," McIlroy told BBC Sport.

"I know I have the game to compete in majors now. I always knew that but it was a matter of going out and proving it."

McIlroy added that, walking up the 9th fairway, he had vowed to caddie JP Fitzgerald that he would birdie the hole to prevent going out in 40.

"So I birdied 9 and I said that 30 on the back nine would be nice, but I just came up one short."

McDowell bogeyed his opening hole but birdies on 3, 5 and 7 saw him to the turn in 34.

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The Portrush golfer then recovered from a double bogey at the short 12th when he overshot the green to pick up birdies at 13, 14 and 15.

However, McDowell, who finished in a tie for 17th, just missed out on an automatic place at the 2010 Masters. Only the top 16 receive an invite.

Lyle, the 1988 champion, rekindled memories of past glories as he carded two birdies and a bogey on the opening nine before picking up another at the par-three 12th.

A bogey five at the 18th ended his chances of ending the day as the top Briton outright, but it was still his best finish since his Augusta triumph 21 years ago.

Casey, who broke his PGA Tour duck in Houston last week, had not gone under 70 all week, but he was out in 34 after birdies at 2 and 7, before coming back in 35 with three birdies and two bogeys.

Rose called his final round "the most stunning day I've had a Augusta", and it was not without drama, with two birdies, two eagles, two double bogeys and a bogey.

Paul Casey

Highlights - Casey nails his putt on 16th

Chigwell's Ross Fisher finished with his second 69 of the week to finish his first Masters in a tie for 30th, while fellow Englishman Luke Donald was two shots back on one over after a 73.

Fisher said: "It was a great day. I just wanted to go out and finish strongly. It was a tricky day again, the wind was gusty but when it died down you could make some birdies.

"I felt like I've left a few shots out there, it could have been a lot better, but a 69 is pleasing."

Poulter's hopes of launching a challenge to the leaders never got going and he carded a disappointing 74.

Worksop's Lee Westwood, meanwhile, had a disastrous back nine to finish seven over for the day and three over for the tournament.

Having double-bogeyed the 7th, Westwood then double-bogeyed 15, 16 and 17 before finishing with a bogey at the last.



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see also
Cabrera wins Masters in play-off
12 Apr 09 |  Golf
Masters day four as it happened
12 Apr 09 |  Golf
Masters photos
12 Apr 09 |  Golf
Lyle rolls back years at Augusta
12 Apr 09 |  Golf
McIlroy shrugs off bunker issue
11 Apr 09 |  Golf
McIlroy avoids Masters punishment
11 Apr 09 |  Golf


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