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Disappointing finish for McIlroy in Hawaii but he vows to 'build and improve' in 2019

Xander Schauffele won the Tournament of Champions.

Rory McIlroy at the Tournament Of Champions.
Rory McIlroy at the Tournament Of Champions.
Image: Matt York

RORY MCILROY SAYS that he can take positives from his start to 2019 despite another disappointing final round, this time at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Going in, the four-time major champion was three behind overnight leader Gary Woodland and expected to turn on the heat at the early season PGA Tour outing. 

Former World number one McIlroy failed to deliver however after a solid start earlier in the weekend, his one-under 72 coming as the worst score of the top 10 finishers at Kapalua. Marc Leishman and Dustin Johnson joined him in a tie for fourth.

Xander Schauffele meanwhile, powered up the leaderboard carding a course record-equalling 11-under 62 to win. He finished the tournament at 23-under, and secured a fourth PGA Tour win.

“I don’t think anyone could have beaten Xander [Schauffele] today!” McIlroy said afterwards, as quoted by Sky Sports. “I would have had to have went out there and shot nine under at the time.

“Obviously I could have shot a better score, but I did what I wanted to do; I gave myself plenty of chances, I hit most of the fairways and I hit most of the greens, but just couldn’t get the ball to drop.

“Anything that was right-to-left I missed on the high side and anything left-to-right I missed on the low side, so it one of those days where it just didn’t happen.”

PGA: Sentry Tournament of Champions - Final Round McIlroy and Woodland. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

The 29-year-old, making his debut in the winners-only event, has stressed time and time again that he’ll focus his playing schedule around the PGA Tour in 2019, and will now look to improve on his mixed start to the year.

“It’s nice to get up and running in the calendar year,” he added. “It was nice to get a start in this early and see where my game’s at and definitely something to build and improve on.

“There’s four weeks of the year you really want to play well, but there’s obviously other weeks of the year you want to play well too and it’s just about building towards the bulk of the season.

“I’m going to go home and sort of reflect on this week and reflect on what was good and what maybe wasn’t so good. I can work on a few things and come back out having learned a little more about my game than I knew coming into this week.”

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Emma Duffy

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