McIlroy aiming higher after major podium

Rory McIlroy came of age in just his fifth major appearance and only his fourth as a professional when he closed with a impressive 70 to finish tied for third with Lee Westwood on three under par at Hazeltine.

Seven behind overnight, the 20 year old Holywood prodigy began with a nightmare double bogey six at to slip back to one over par for the championship but the stormed to the turn in two under par 34 with three birdies on the spin from the third and another at the ninth.

After erasing a bogey at the 12th with a birdie at the 14th, he finished impressively by getting up and down for par at the 17th and 18th to complete an incredible US PGA debut.

“Coming into this week, I didn’t have my best form and to finish tied third is a great result for me,” he said. “I am very satisfied with how I played all week.

“This is my first year in the majors, all four of them. My results have been pretty good. I finished 20th at the Masters, I was disappointed at the British only finishing 46th, but the other two have been really good with a top ten in the US Open and now this. So I'm looking to build on these results next year and hopefully try to do a bit better.”

McIlroy missed the green at the first, chipped poorly and three putted for a six but bounced back brilliantly.

He said: “You know, I said to JP, my caddie, after the first hole, I was in contention in the South African Open at the end of last year and I started double, double and shot 6‑under from there on in to finish third. So I said to him, ‘Let's try and do the same as what we did in South Africa.’”

McIlroy managed to play the remaining 17 holes in four under par on a day when the field struggled in a crosswind that gusted over 25 mph.
“I've been very patient,” he said. “I didn't get flustered when I made a six at the first. I knew that I had a few chances on the front nine to get it back, and I had four birdies after that on the front nine to turn at two‑under and the back nine was playing very tough today. To shoot level par on that back nine with this wind, I felt was a really good effort.”