For about 12 holes on Sunday afternoon it appeared the stage was set for Rory McIlroy to make an improbable final round comeback at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.
After holing out from the bunker on the par-5 12th hole for eagle, McIlroy was only one back of the leaders with six holes to play. For a guy who appeared to be running on empty on Thursday and Friday, it suddenly looked like the No. 1 ranked player in the world was going to do something incredibly special.
But in the blink of an eye, the magic disappeared, as McIlroy played the last six holes in 1-over and watched his comeback bid come up two shots short in his final tuneup before the Masters.
While some might question his inability to capitalize on the lack of success the leaders were having behind him as he hit the closing stretch, you have to remember that going into Sunday's final round, McIlroy only had an outside shot to win the tournament.
He was a full eight shots back of Bubba Watson, so the fact that he was able to put together another impressive round on Sunday — his 7-under 65 on Saturday was the second lowest round of the day — and claw his way back into the tournament told us everything we needed to know about his game at the moment: He's ready for Augusta.
With 11 top-five finishes in his last 12 events, there's nobody on the planet playing better golf than Rory McIlroy. You had to wonder if winning the Honda and picking up the No. 1 ranking would leave him drained coming to Doral, but after the weekend he produced, you can't help but be impressed with the way he was able to dig deep while playing in his third straight event.
With three weeks off before the Masters, there's no doubt Rory McIlroy will be recharged when he drives down Magnolia Lane. The 22-year-old has always said he plays his best golf when he's fresh; we'll see if that's still the case when he steps on the first tee at Augusta National.
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