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McIlroy falls just short as Laird conjures up magical finish in Texas

Rory McIlroy heads to the Masters full of confidence after he finished second at the Valero Texas Open this evening.

Laird: first one since the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2011.
Laird: first one since the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2011.
Image: Eric Gay/AP/Press Association Images

RORY MCILROY WRAPPED up his Masters preparations in style with a confidence-boosting finish at the Valero Texas Open this evening.

McIlroy, who has been plagued with criticism after an indifferent start to the season, showed he was back to his best with a six-under-par 66 at TPC San Antonio.

But the world number two was denied a first win of 2013 by a miracle round from Scotland’s Martin Laird who equalled the course record with a nine-under-par 63.

After surging up the leaderboard on the front nine, Laird finished with three straight birdies to post a total of 14-under-par and earn himself an invite to the season’s first Major.

For McIlroy, the late decision to play the Texas Open in the hope of finding some form ahead of next week’s trip to Augusta proved to be the right one. He finished two shots back on 12-under with Jim Furyk, Billy Horschel and Charley Hoffman sharing third place on 11-under.

“To finish off this tournament with a round like today is great going into Augusta even though I didn’t get the trophy,” McIlroy told NBC.

“Martin just played too good today. Especially in those conditions, 63 is phenomenal.”

“I’m really pleased with my game and this has been a great week for me.”

Padraig Harrington finished in a tie for 10th after holing out a short birdie putt for a 70 and a total of seven-under-par.

Shane Lowry, who was playing in San Antonio this week on a sponsor’s invite, also shot a final round of 70 and tied for 15th on four-under.

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Niall Kelly

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