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Riviera Country Club



Gut Punches

Watch Rory McIlroy three-putt from two feet(!) late on Sunday during all-time brutal loss

January 14, 2024

Rory McIlroy was rolling toward a season-opening victory in Dubai on Sunday before disaster struck. Twice.

We'll start with the par-3 14th hole, where McIlroy looked poised to make a fourth consecutive birdie after sticking his tee shot to about two feet.

Just a nice little kick-in birdie to increase his lead, right? Wrong. Have a look as the four-time major champ three-putted from near gimme range:

Shocking stuff. But Rory's roller coaster final round was far from over!

He bounced back to make a much, much longer birdie putt on 15 and then added a birdie on 17 to take a one-shot lead over playing partner Tommy Fleetwood heading to the par-4 18th. But, well, you can guess where this is heading. McIlroy found the water with his tee shot.

Ouch. He wound up making another bogey and leaving the door open for Fleetwood to do this:

Congrats to Fleetwood, but that is an all-time brutal loss for McIlroy. But he seemed to take it well.

"I think first week back out, I think you're going to expect some of those sloppy mistakes, and unfortunately for me, those mistakes came at the wrong time today," McIlroy said. "But you know, I'll reflect on it and learn from today, and there's still a lot of good stuff in there. But just need to tidy up some of the edges, and if I do that, I feel good going into next week."

McIlroy will stay in Dubai to play in the Dubai Desert Classic, where he's a three-time winner and defending champ.