McIlroy continues to impress

 

Rory McIlroy's bid to become the youngest winner in European Tour history ended in slight disappointment this evening as the Co Down teenager had to settle for a share of fourth place.

The 18-year-old stayed in the hunt with an eagle on the 10th but a closing round of 70 containing five bogeys left him five shots adrift of Denmark's Mads Vibe-Hastrup, who finished on 16-under-par.

Nevertheless, McIlroy's remarkable start to life in the professional ranks saw him secure his tour card for next year following a rollercoaster round featuring an eagle, five birdies and five bogeys.

It was another impressive performance in only his third event in the paid ranks, coming just seven days after finishing third in the Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.

"I would have taken (fourth) when I came here," admitted McIlroy, leading amateur in the Open at Carnoustie in July. "I think I have done well after all that has gone over the last few weeks.

"There was a lot to contend with so coming here and finishing in the top five is pretty good. That's two good weeks in a row — I just hope to follow it on next week.

"I am playing very well at the moment. I am hitting it really well. If I could get a couple more putts to drop it would make the difference, but Mads played very well today and I would have had to shoot 65 to get near him.

"He played very well and didn't give me a chance. It would have been nice to hole that birdie putt at the last to finish joint third instead of fourth but I am happy with the result.

"It was kind of stop-start at points today, but that's the way it goes. Some days you get on a roll and others you don't, I just couldn't build momentum today. Every time I got a birdie I would give it away in the next couple of holes but I am very happy with the performance this week and that's me probably into the top 100 on the Order of Merit now so I am happy. Onwards and upwards."

A closing five-under-par 67 left Vibe-Hastrup three ahead of home favourite Alejandro Canizares (68). Daniel Vancsik, the leader for the first three rounds, lost his victory chance with a calamitous quintuple-bogey ninth on the fifth.

The Argentine was two shots ahead of the field at the time but never recovered from his mishap and had to settle for third place on 12-under with a 73.

By following compatriots Anders and Soren Hansen into the 2007 victor's enclosure the 29-year-old Vibe-Hastrup became the 17th first-time winner on the European Tour this season.

After Vancsik perished on the fifth by tangling with heavy rough in a gulley, Vibe-Hastrup, two behind the Argentine overnight, took a firm hold with three birdies in four holes from the eighth.

Canizares stayed in touch with him until he missed a short putt to bogey the short 17th, shortly after Vibe-Hastrup produced a gem of an approach to three feet to birdie the 16th and effectively end the contest.