Rory McIlroy finished six shots behind Master champion Adam Scott in The Barclays but wasn’t the only one left to regret what might have been.
The young Ulster natice will no doubt reflect on four double bogeys and six bogeys that ultimately proved to be too much of a disadvantage to overcome at Liberty National.
As Scott took advantage of a series of calamaties by others to post an immaculate, five under 66 and sneak away with a one-shot win over Graham DeLaet, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Gary Woodland, McIlroy was joint 19th on five under after a 72
The 24-year old world No 3 was one over for his last two rounds and while he showed more than a few sparks of brilliance, especially in his six under 65 in the second round, he knows he needs to cut out the mistakes that led to three double bogeys in an opening 71 and another in yesterday’s one over par closing round.
There was a silver lining to the cloud for McIlroy, however, as he moved up 13 places to 36th in the FedEx Cup standings - just outside the top 30 who qualify for the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Graeme McDowell, on the other hand, fell 16 places after missing the cut and is now 44th in his bid to make the Top-30 for the first time since he rejoined the PGA Tour at the end of 2010.
As for the first playoff event, Woods sucummbed to a back spasm on the par-fivce 13th hole. According to agency reportss, he hooked a fairway metal so far left that it landed in a swamp on the other side of the 15th fairway, leading to bogey.
He dropped another shot at the 15th but somehow birdied the 16th and 17th to go to the last needing a birdie to force a playoff only to see his 25 footer from the fringe came up a roll and a half short.
Woods broke 70 in all four rounds for the first time this season but his presence on the first tee for the opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship next Friday remains to be seen.
“I felt great until that tee shot at the 12th,” Woods said of his lower back pain, which he blamed on a sort hotel bed.
“I was playing pretty good and hanging right there. Chapp(ell) just made double at 11 and I was only one back and figured I was in a perfect spot.”
Asked by CBS if he would be fit enough for the second playoff event, Woods said: “That’s all hypothetical. I just got off and I’m not feeling my best right now.”
Scott was shocked his 11 under par total was good enough.
“I feel like I’ve been given a bit of a gift but I’ll take it,” Scott said after moving to second in the FedEx Cup standings behind Woods.
“I can’t believe it, to be honest. I just played a good round today and I came in and really didn’t think it had a chance. But obviously, things went my way a lot out there.”
Justin Rose had a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th to overtake Scott but ran it five feet past and three-putted for a bogey for a 68.
“I got too aggressive,” Rose said. “I thought it was a putt to win the tournament. It’s tough to take.”
Later, on twitter, Rose wrote with no little humour: “Never up, never in.”
He wasn’t the only one left wondering what might have been.
Kevin Chappell had a two-shot lead through 10 holes, only to play the next seven in seven-over par, closing with a 76 for joint 15th on six under.
Overnight leaders Matt Kuchar also failed to fire but in contrasing fashion.
Kuchar ended up joitn 19th with McIlroy after a 78 that began with a bogey, continued with seven pars and a calamitous triple bogey seven at the ninth.
Out in 40, Kuchar made four more bogeys but birdied the last.
As for Woodland, he lost the lead when he drove into water at the 13th and then missed three birdie chances inside 10 feet on the last three greens to card a 73.
Sweden’s Jonas Blixt was sixth entering the final round and shot an 81, tweeting: “Not wearing orange again…”