McIlroy and McDowell frustrated by Blue Monster on final day

McDowell finishes with a final round of 73, while McIlroy is further drops further back following a 74

 Tiger Woods lines up a putt  during the final round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral.

Tiger Woods lines up a putt during the final round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral.


Brian Keogh in Miami

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell have work to do to be ready for the Masters but while the Portrush man was upbeat, the Holywood star was utterly frustrated after a trying final day in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral.

As McDowell finished with a pair of bogeys for a 73 that looked set to leave him just outside the top ten on two over par, McIlroy had to wait until the 18th to hole a putt of any significance - a 10 footer for bogey after tugging his approach into the water.

The former world number one had an exasperating day on the greens, taking 32 putts in a two over 74 that left him back in the pack on five over par.

“It was more frustrating than anything else,” said McIlroy, who was tied for eighth at halfway before his title challenge suffered a fatal blow when he had two sevens on his card in a 75 on Saturday.

“I felt like I struck the ball well for the most part, it was just on the greens that I didn’t get anything going. Any time I missed the greens I didn’t really get up and down.

“It’s a frustrating golf course because you feel you should be doing so much better. It just doesn’t allow you to. You have to be so precise just to get the ball close on some of these greens, with these pin positions.”

Following Saturday’s lacklustre 75, McIlroy knew going out that he would need a round in the mid-60s to have any chance of winning. But it was evident after only a handful of holes that it was not going to be his day.

He started brightly enough, splashing out from greenside sand to five feet to set up an opening birdie four. But on a course were any waywardness made it almost impossible to get close to some tight pin positions, he was soon making up the numbers.

Fortunate not to find the canal left of the second fairway, he was exasperated to see a series of birdie putts slip by the hole from 13 feet at the third, 15 feet at the fifth and 13 feet at the sixth.

Shoulders slumped as he walked to the eighth, where had run up the first of two double bogey sevens on Saturday, any hopes of a title charge ended when he chipped weakly to eight feet from just off the green and never threatened the hole with the putt.

Bunkered left trying to hold up his tee shot at the ninth, he inevitably failed with a 12 footer for par and trundled through the back nine.

After missing a six footer for birdie at the 10th, he parred the next three and bogeyed the 14th and took three from the fringe at the driveable 16th to walk off with a par four.

“I got to the turn even par and thought I should be three or four under,” he said. “I feel like I played a lot better than the score suggests.”

Clearly not a huge fan of the mentally taxing, new-look Blue Monster, he added: “The old course allowed you to go low, the course the way it is now just doesn’t allow you to do that.”

He has three weeks off before he goes to the Houston Open to prepare for the Masters but as he got set to head to Indian Wells to watch Caroline Wozniacki in action last night, he joked of Doral: “Maybe [I’LL]re-think the schedule next year. It is more mentally challenging than anything else.”

McDowell was more upbeat after his 73, having started the final day five strokes behind leader Patrick Reed.

Two under after eight, he bogeyed the 11th and 13th, birdied the 16th but then dropped shots at the last two holes, driving into the water at the 18th.

“ I didn’t really have my A game this weekend,” said McDowell, who will play the Bay Hill Invitational and the EurAsia Cup in Malaysia before heading to Augusta. “I guess I should be proud of myself for competing in WGCs without playing my best. I feel happy where I am at. I have a lot of work to do but it is all ticking along nicely.”

Like McIlroy, he found that the course put him on the defensive and simply wasn’t playing well enough, especially with a new Srixon driver in the bag, to take it on.

“The course is great. I’d like to see more set ups like this - US Open, British Open golf. I just need to dial this driver in. Driving the ball is the key to me playing well.”

Tiger Woods’ erratic season continued when he followed his second round 66 with a disappointing final round showing.

He hit two fans with wild shots and dumped a ball in the water in his first three holes and was already two over for the day when he appeared to tweak his already balky back playing from a awkward lie in a fairway trap at the sixth.

He bogeyed the hole to slip to three over and nine off the lead, reminding us that he has shot a final-round score in the 60s just twice in the past 16 months on the PGA Tour.

Five over for the day playing the last, he was four over for the tournament and nine shots behind leader Reed who had led by four from Duston Johnson and Jaime Donaldson at halfway but found himself just one ahead of the Welshman playing the 18th.