The Holywood golfer, who has been on a hot streak of late and started the tournament in blistering form last Thursday, faded over the weekend and yesterday he had to settle for an even round.
The two-time Major winner had four birdies, three after nine holes (at four, six and nine), and two more down the stretch. Ultimately, he gave himself too much to do as Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama held sway over Bubba Watson as the two battled down the stretch for the title.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee beat Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher in a play-off on a thrilling final day of the Nordea Masters in Malmo.
Jaidee claimed his sixth European Tour title at the first extra hole, tucking away a putt from three feet after Frenchman Dubuisson and Scotland’s Gallacher missed birdie chances.
Jaidee hit a final-round 65 as he reeled in and overtook overnight leaders Henrik Stenson and Eddie Pepperell.
His total of 16 under earned him the clubhouse lead, but he had to watch on as Dubuisson (67) and Gallacher (68) held steady over the final holes to force the play-off.
“I started with three birdies in a row, had another one on six, then a good comeback on 11,” Jaidee said. “We were nervous the last few holes — 16, 17 and 18 are tough holes — but 16 under was good enough for a play-off.”
Dubuisson had a chance to win outright in regulation after reaching the edge of the 18th green in two shots, but a three-putt saw him settle for par and a play-off.
For his part, Gallacher did brilliantly to make the play-off after holing a fine 20-footer for birdie at the last, having looked to have blown his chance with a bogey at 17.
Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen hit a 65 to finish alone in fourth place on 15 under, one stroke ahead of Stenson (71), while Pepperell’s level-par 72 saw him finish in a tie for sixth on 13 under, alongside Alvaro Quiros and Robert Karlsson.
Irish teenager Gavin Moynihan won the Scottish Open strokeplay championship at Panmure yesterday after a stunning last round of three-under-par 67.
The 19-year-old Walker Cup player from The Island Club in Dublin overtook long-time leader Geoff Drakeford, the talented Australian, for victory in one of British golf’s most prestigious strokeplay events.
A 72-hole aggregate of 275 gave Alabama University student Moynihan a two-stroke victory over Drakeford, England’s Nick Marsh and fellow Irish star Jack Hume.
An eagle three on the tricky 14th was the icing on the cake for the Dubliner, who then produced a steady finish of four straight pars.
He finished on 275 while Drakeford was still on the course requiring three pars to force a sudden-death play-off, but the pressure appeared to get to him as he dropped strokes on each of the last two holes.
Moynihan started the final round six strokes behind Drakeford and after three pars birdied four, five and six to put him in pole position although bogeys at seven and eight set him back a little and he needed to keep his nerve for the rest of the round, which he did brilliantly.
Out in 34 Moynihan came home in 33 to become champion.
Hume, the 20-year-old West of Ireland Open champion from Naas, fired a stunning 66 to close and his joint second-place finish will put him in fine shape for the summer.
Lucan’s Richard O’Donovan finished on 283 after rounds of 71, 70, 73 and 69 while Cormac Sharvin of Arglass was further back on 294 after rounds of 71, 73, 74 and 76.
Mourne’s Reeve Whitson, Dermot McElroy of Ballymena and Rory McNamara all failed to make the halfway cut.
At St Andrews, Ballybunnion’s Emma O’Driscoll finished well down the field in the prestigious St Rule Trophy with a 54-hole total of 228 following rounds of 75, 82 and 71. She finished in joint 21st, 15 strokes behind winner Jessica Meek of Carnouistie, who won in a sudden-death play-off with French player Anaelle Carnet.
Lahinch’s Sinead Sexton ended further back on 234.