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The good news for Rory McIlroy is that he set a new career best for birdies at the Zozo Championship. 

The bad news is that he finished in a tie for 17th at Sherwood Country Club without ever contending. 

The Northern Irishman made an impressive 29 birdies in 72 holes – good enough to win most weeks on the PGA Tour.

However, they were offset by eight bogeys and three doubles, leaving McIlroy on 15-under for the tournament and eight shots adrift of the winner, Patrick Cantlay. 

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It all added up to an erratic and somewhat frustrating week for the four-time major champion. Next stop for him? Augusta National for the COVID-rescheduled Masters Tournament and his sixth attempt at completing the career grand slam – and he knows now what needs to be done if he is to slip into a Green Jacket.

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“I just need to cut out the mistakes,” said the 31-year-old. “I don’t think it’s
anything technical, but yeah, mostly just I’ve sort of compounded errors this week a little bit, and last week as well. 

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“I had a really bad run there at the end of the tournament to go from wherever I was in the top-10 to outside the top-20. So yeah, it’s basically that, when I get out of position.”

McIlroy, without a major victory since the 2014 US PGA Championship, is a win at Augusta away from becoming just the sixth player in the history of the game to complete the career grand slam. 

Unlike previous years, this year’s Masters takes place two months after the most recent major rather than eight. The quieter build-up, says McIlroy, also plays into his hands.

“I like this more,” he said. “There’s not as much hype, not as much noise. I like this better.

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“We’re right in the thick of the season where everyone’s just trying to end their year on a high note and take a bit of time off, enjoy the holidays and come back in the new year.”

The rescheduled 2020 Masters Tournament gets underway at Augusta National on November 12.


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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