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Sunday 22 April 2018

McIlroy: I WILL win the Masters one day

Augusta win dream come true for Reed

Patrick Reed of the U.S. (L) and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland. Photo: Reuters
Patrick Reed of the U.S. (L) and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland. Photo: Reuters

Rory McIlroy believes he will win the Masters title he needs to complete the career grand slam despite letting his best chance to date slip away.

McIlroy began the final round three shots off the lead and closed to within a shot of eventual winner Patrick Reed after two holes, but faded badly with a closing 74 at Augusta National.

And although it was not the collapse of 2011, when he enjoyed a four-shot lead after 54 holes before crashing to a closing 80, McIlroy could beforgiven for wondering if his place in history will remain elusive.

"I played probably some of the best golf I've ever played here, it just wasn't meant to be," McIlroy said. "Of course it's frustrat ing and it's hard to take any positives from it right now, but at least I put myself in a position, that's all I've wanted to do.

"For the last four years I've had top 10s but I haven't been close enough to the lead. Today I got myself there, I didn't quite do enough but I'll still come back next year and try again.

"I think 100% I can come back and win here. I've played in two final groups in the last seven years, I've had five top 10s, I play this golf course well. I just haven't played it well enough at the right times.

"The putter let me down a little bit, I just wasn't quite as trusting as I was the first few days and that made a big difference. I was trying to hit good shots and good putts and anytime I felt like I hit a good shot I got myself on the wrong side of the pin or gave myself a tricky one down the hill.

"Then when I did get some chances I didn't take advantage of them. It was a tough day and hopefully I'll be better next time.

"It was like every time I took a step forward I took a step back on the next hole. I had a chance to maybe put a bit more pressure on him than I did and I'd say three and five are the ones that I'd look back on and if I could have made pars there it could have been a different story."

Dream

Reed admitted it was a dream come true to win the Masters, despite his Augusta connections not being enough to make him a crowd favourite.

Reed carded a final round of 71 to hold off the challenge of Ryder Cup team-mates Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth and claim his first major title.

The 27-year-old from Texas helped Augusta State win two NCAA titles and his parents still live in the area, but he has been estranged from them for several year and was described by his sister Hannah as a "selfish, horrible stranger" in a Facebook post in 2016.

Asked if his win was bittersweet because he would not be sharing it with his parents and sister, Reed would only respond: "I'm just out here to play golf and try to win golf tournaments."

But he admitted he used the popularity of playing partner McIlroy with the galleries to his advantage on a pulsating final day.

"I walked up to the first tee and had a really welcoming cheer from the fans, but then when Rory walked up to the tee his cheer was a little louder," Reed said.

"But that's another thing that just kind of played into my hand. Not only did it fuel my fire a little bit, but also, it just takes the pressure off of me and adds it back to him.

"For me trying to win my first major, for him trying to win the career grand slam, it's (about) who is going to handle the pressure and who is going to have more pressure on them.

"Growing up, everyone always dreamed about winning Augusta, winning the Masters. Every time you think about it as a kid, it's always 'This putt's to win the Masters.

"I think that's just because of the history and everything that's gone on here at Augusta National and how special it is to all the golfers and special it is to just golf in general around the world."

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