McIlroy fades as Schauffele claims title in Hawaii

Ruben Hill
January 10, 2019

The Holywood man failed to spark in the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and came away empty-handed from the final group for the seventh time in a row in the space of 12 months.

"My attitude was much better today".

"I obviously could have shot a better score, but I did what I wanted to do, gave myself plenty of chances, just couldn't get the ball to drop", said McIlroy, after finishing equal fourth on 277, eight strokes behind Schauffele.

McIlroy, who has chose to focus on the PGA Tour this year, a decision which ruffled some feathers in Europe, has struggled to convert opportunities to victories.

On six occasions around the world past year McIlroy played in the final group in the final round and in all six he failed to win.

He was beaten each time.

"I was just trying to stay within myself", he said.

The American fired a five-under 68 on the third day in Hawaii to keep his place at the top of the leaderboard, with Rory McIlroy taking sole possession of second place.

Schauffele started the final round five strokes behind overnight leader Woodland and fell further back with a bogey at the first at the Kapalua Plantation course on Maui.

Schauffele won the Greenbrier Classic and the Tour Championship to lock up the PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year award in 2017, finished second in The Open last year and won the WGC-HSBC Champions after a play-off with Tony Finau last October.

Xander Schauffele won the event after starting the final day five strokes off the lead with a almost historic performance.

"I started off poorly, chipped in (on the par-five ninth) and then holed out shortly after that. Jordan [Spieth] shot 30 under [in 2016], and I'm sure it wasn't windy that week". "But, overall, it's been a positive week even though I wish I would have played a little better".

"I'm definitely freed up", he said.

Asked if he felt that the work he'd put in on his game over the winter could pay off for the rest of the year, the 29-year-old added: "I think so. I can't tell you what the winning formula is". Woodland said he did not realise that the Northern Irishman had pulled into a tie for the lead on the back nine.

Despite not playing in the event, Justin Rose reclaimed the world No 1 spot from Brooks Koepka after he ended up 24th in the 33-player field.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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