Disappointing 73 sees McIlroy’s challenge peter out as Adam Scott claims Genesis Invitational victory

McIlroy began the day tied for the lead

Disappointing 73 sees McIlroy’s challenge peter out as Adam Scott claims Genesis Invitational victory

Adam Scott started his 2020 campaign in the same way as he finished 2019’s, with victory in the Genesis Invitational as Rory McIlroy’s title challenge petered out at Riviera.

Scott, who won the Australian PGA Championship three days before Christmas, overcame dropping three shots in two holes on the front nine to card a closing 70 and finish 11 under par, two shots ahead of Sung Kang, Scott Brown and Matt Kuchar.

McIlroy began the day tied for the lead with Scott and Kuchar but ran up a triple-bogey seven on the fifth on his way to a disappointing 73 to finish joint fifth in his first week as world number one since September 2015.

Scott made the ideal start to the final round with birdies on the first and third, but bogeyed the fourth and then took six on the next after missing the green with his approach and needing two attempts to find the putting surface.

McIlroy did likewise but compounded the error by three-putting from 20 feet and – although he birdied the par-five 11th to remain in contention – a bogey on the 13th to Scott’s birdie effectively ended his chances.

Scott gave the chasing pack hope when his approach to the 15th plugged in a greenside bunker and led to a bogey, but a superb pitch to the par-five 17th set up a decisive birdie from 10 feet.

“This is incredibly satisfying, it’s a place I’ve loved for many years and played well at a lot of times and to get an official victory here among one of the best fields we’ll have this year feels very, very good,” Scott, who won the title in 2005 when the tournament was reduced to 36 holes, told Sky Sports.

It was a tough day but this is a tough course and when the pressure’s on and it’s a little windy, (being) out of position isn’t good and I got myself out of position a couple of times, but there was enough good stuff in there to make up for it.

Tournament host Tiger Woods carded a closing 77 to finish last of the players who made the cut for just the second time in his career.

“The good news is I hit every ball forward. A couple sideways,” Woods joked to reporters afterwards.

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