He battled to the final hole but the truth is, in the end, it felt like too much of a battle. After that sensational opening round of 65, when he went nine-under for his last 11 holes, the final three rounds of the 2021 Masters were a grind for Justin Rose. The 2013 US Open champion did valiantly to hang in there for as long as he did. Some of his saves on the back nine on Saturday, in particular, were spectacular. But with Hideki Matsuyama relentless in his quest to become the first Japanese player to win a major, and Will Zalatoris and Xander Schauffele also pulling clear, grinding out pars was never going to cut it. Ultimately, Rose could not manage even that. His final round of 74 for seventh place felt a tad harsh considering he had led the tournament for two and a half rounds. But it was a fair reflection of the way he played. Those 11 holes on Thursday aside, Rose was not the same player who finished runner-up in 2015 and 2017. Nor was it fair to expect him to be. He arrived at this Masters without any sort of form, having pulled out of last month’s Arnold Palmer Invitational with a back injury and having prepared for the challenge by ‘visualising’ rounds of Augusta in his head while sitting in his trophy room at home. Considering that preparation, the fact that Rose managed a sixth career top 10 finish this year was nothing short of remarkable. A bogey at the first, where he missed the green with his approach but was unable to produce another sensational up-and-down, was a flavour of things to come as Rose began to slip down the leaderboard. Although he bounced straight back with a birdie at the par-five second, Rose bogeyed three, five and nine as he went out in 38. And with the dream of a green jacket dying for another year, he seemed to lose heart. He briefly got back to five-under with birdie at 13 but by now he was eight shots behind Matsuyama and well out of contention. Bogeys at 15 and 16 were the final nail in the coffin, although he did manage to finish with one final birdie at 18, a long and winding putt from 46 feet, which he followed to the hole, drawing appreciative applause from the patrons. It must have felt bittersweet. Rose smiled and doffed his cap. But he would have been hoping for so much more at the start of the day. Bogeys at 15 and 16 were the nail in the coffin, although his final birdie at 18, his 18th of the week, was a nice touch. Where one Briton departed with a bit of a sour taste, another up-and-coming star left with a hop and a skip. Robert MacIntyre’s debut Masters was nothing short of sensational and it ended as it started. A birdie at the 18th for a level-par final round of 72 to finish on two-under for the tournament and a share of 12th place.