RORY McILROY blamed a photographer for missing out on his lowest ever European Tour round – andpossibly even going top of theOrder of Merit – in Switzerlandyesterday.
The 20-year-old needed a closing birdie for a nine-under-par 62 on the last day of the Omega European Masters and was up into a tie for third after starting the day 34th.
“He was annoying me before I hit the shot and then he clicked a bitearly,” said McIlroy after pushing his three-wood and bogeying for a 64.
The Irishman does not have happy memories of the 18th hole at Crans-Montana.
He also dropped a shot there to fall into a play-off last year and then missed an 18-inch putt on the same green when he and Frenchman Jean-Francois Lucquin went into sudden death.
McIlroy could now easily lose his third place standing on the Race to Dubai money list in deciding to contest this week’s Korean Open in Seoul.
McIlroy has cut the gap, albeit slightly, between the front-running duo of Martin Kaymer and Paul Casey with his €48,700 prize after finishing in a share of seventh place.
McIlroy finished eight strokes behind Sweden’s Alexander Noren who recorded a first Tour victory in signing off for a 66 to edge out Welshman Bradley Dredge (65) by two strokes with a 20-under par victory tally.
Noren entered the week only 88th on the European money list and 130th in the world but has long been viewed as one to watch – and now Europe’s captain Colin Montgomerie will see whether he can build on this.
A week ago, the Scot revealed he had written down his “dream team” and admitted some uncapped players were on the list. Noren’s name was almost certainly not among them, though.
McIlroy’s effort moved him a further €38,800 ahead of Lee Westwood, fourth on the money list, after the England player posted a final round 66 for a seven-under-par tally and a share of 23rd spot.
However, while McIlroy journeys to the Far East, Westwood will be in Cologne for the €2m Mercedes-Benz Championship, a limited field event with no halfway cut and where a top-five would see Westwood go ahead of the young Irish player.
Paul McGinley produced his best four-round scoring effort in 15 months despite carding a closing round 71 for a nine under par total and a share of 17th.
Graeme McDowell holed a 15-footer for birdie at the last in a 69 that gave him a share of 32nd place.
Darren Clarke carded a last day 72 for a one under par tally and a share of 60th place while Ballyclare’s Gareth Maybin has dropped one spot to 57th on the Race to Dubai money list in signing off for a 71 and a one-over-par total.
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