Rory McIlroy enjoyed Riviera debut despite frustrating final round
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 22/02/16 11:44am
Rory McIlroy has vowed to make the Northern Trust Open a regular event on his schedule, despite a disappointing finish to his Riviera debut.
The world No 3 was in contention for a first win of the year when he went in to the final round two strokes adrift of eventual winner Bubba Watson, but ended nine strokes off the pace after a final-round 75.
McIlroy followed three rounds in the 60s by beginning Sunday with an eagle-three at the first, only to slide down the leaderboard as the day progressed.
Although a tie-for-20th is McIlroy's lowest worldwide finish since October's season-opening Frys.com Open, the Northern Irishman confirmed he enjoyed his first Riviera appearance enough to make a future return.
"This is definitely going to be a regular for me on the schedule going forward," McIlroy said after his final round. "I really enjoyed it so much and there are so many great things to do.
"There's encouraging signs, but I turned a chance to win in to a top-20 at the end of the day so that wasn't too good.
"Tee-to-green it felt pretty good, but it was one of those days and I couldn't really get anything going after the good start."
A missed par-save from fewer than five feet at the fourth was the first of three bogeys in a four-hole stretch along the front nine, before a hat-trick of blemishes from the 11th ended any hopes.
After carding a seventh dropped shot of the round at the short 16th, McIlroy finished a frustrating final round in style by holing his chip from off the 18th green.
"I let a few shots slip away," McIlroy added. "I was 12 under after the first hole and if you play a solid round of golf after that you have a great chance.
"The three-putt on four, I put it in the bunker on six and really couldn't get it up-and-down there. There was the three-putt on seven and were mistakes you shouldn't make. That's what cost me.
"I felt like I played three solid rounds of golf and didn't make many mistakes. I was very solid in that department, but I just couldn't really get anything going."
Rory McIlroy is back in action at this week's Honda Classic, an event you can watch throughout the week live on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf.