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Leadoff double proves costly for Rory McIlroy in Rome

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Despite coughing up his lead and needing to birdie his final hole to shoot even par Saturday at the Italian Open, Rory McIlroy was thinking big picture.

“Thankfully, I'm still in it,” he said.

That sentiment arguably lasted just one hole on Sunday at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, as the world No. 2, playing in the final group alongside Matthew Fitzpatrick and Aaron Rai, double-bogeyed the par-4 first. McIlroy hit his opening tee shot way right, missed the green with his approach, hit a poor chip 50 feet past the flag and eventually missed a 5-footer for bogey.

While McIlroy went on to card six birdies and shoot 3-under 68, the leadoff double proved the difference with McIlroy finishing at 12 under, two shots out of a playoff, which was won by Robert MacIntyre.

Full-field scores from the DS Automobiles Italian Open

There are positives, of course, as McIlroy’s solo fourth was his 10th top-8 finish of the calendar year. He’s won twice in 2022 and will enter his next start, the Alfred Dunhill Links in two weeks, riding a streak three straight top-4 finishes.