Rory McIlroy extended his lead at the top of the DP World Tour rankings, but his wait for victory at the Old Course continues after he finished two shots behind New Zealand’s Ryan Fox at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.
he carded a second straight six-under 66 to finish fourth on 13 under with Frenchman Antoine Rosner as Fox fired a 68 to win, beating England’s Callum Shinquin and Sweden’s Alex Noren on 15 under.
Looking for consolation on the Old Course after his near-miss at The Open, McIlroy entered the final round tied with playing partner Padraig Harrington, eight strokes behind Richard Mansell, who finished seventh after a 76.
But while he made six birdies in the first 13 holes to tie for the lead, the four-time Major champion failed to birdie the par-five 14th and, after making a shot at the 17th where he found the Road Hole bunker, he became the latest to claim his sixth top 10 in nine starts in the event — or eight of 11 if you include The Open in 2010 and 2022.
“Played well again today,” said McIlroy, who correctly predicted that a final 64 would give him a chance to win his third title of the year. “I did everything I wanted to do. I didn’t make birdie on 14, which kind of stopped my momentum, and then it was a little bit of a struggle along the way.”
He added: “At the end of the day I fell two or three short of my target and it looks like that target would have been good enough to at least make the playoffs.”
Fox (35) started the day four shots behind Mansell, but turned in a three-under 33 and took two more shots to head to the 17th by two shots.
A bogey there cut his lead to just one stroke, but he tied for 18th for his second win of the season to move into third in the DP World Tour rankings and an estimated 25th in the world, securing debut at the Masters next year.
“I definitely feel like he was with me today,” said Fox, who finished second in the 2021 Pro-Am alongside cricketer Shane Warne, who died earlier this year. “A lot of people have missed him this week, especially me. It was a weird feeling at the start of the week, but I also felt like he was there helping and it was nice to do that for him this week.”
Harrington finished 17th on nine-under after a 70 as McIlroy extended his lead over Matt Fitzpatrick at the top of the rankings and will bid to become Europe’s number one for a fourth time at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai from November 17-20. .
At the Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi, Seamus Power also started the final round eight shots off the lead, but a one-under 71 left him tied for 29th at eight under at the Country Club of Jackson.
In Dallas, England’s Charlie Hull claimed her third LPGA win as she closed with a seven-under 64 to win the LPGA Ascendant, one stroke behind China’s Xia Lin at 18 under as Stephanie Meadow carded her final two holes for a 73 to tie . 44th in one-over results, dropping her one place to 79th on the points list.
Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee finished ninth at the Challenge Tour’s Hopps Open de Provence, seven shots behind Sweden’s Joel Sjöholm after a costly double seven at the 18th Golf International de Pont Royal.
The Derry man, who scored 69 yesterday, moved up two places to 43rd in the Majorca Roads leaderboard, while Conor Purcell moved up two places to 75th after a level 72 put him on 34 -th place is four below.
Hollywood’s Tom McKibbin dropped one spot to 15th in the DP World Tour’s 20-card race after a final-round 76 to finish 34th in three under.
In amateur golf, East Cork beat Edmondstown 4-1 to win the Revive Active Women’s Four-Ball in Athlone, with nine-hole Connemara Isles winning the Men’s All-Ireland Four-Ball and their first national pennant with a nail-biting 3- 2 win over Newbridge.