POTOMAC, Maryland – Rory McIlroy needed a comeback on the order of Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike at the Wells Fargo Championship at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.
It was not to be.
After making the cut on the number, he gave it a shot with back-to-back 68s on the weekend, but it was too little, too late for the 20-time PGA TOUR winner as he finished solo fifth, four back.
“I’m playing good, playing really good,” McIlroy said after giving himself an outside shot with three birdies in his first 10 holes, but stalling on the back nine. “No complaints with the game. Everything feels pretty solid. Just a couple things here and there coming down the stretch, a couple missed putts, but really apart from that I feel like the game’s in good shape.”
He will take a week off before teeing it up at the PGA Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
McIlroy was coming off a runner-up finish at the Masters last month.
Although this marked another close call, McIlroy’s week was not without its highlights. The three-time Wells Fargo champion celebrated his 33rd birthday at the pro-am on Wednesday and was serenaded and given a birthday cupcake. He visited nearby Congressional Country Club, where he won the 2011 U.S. Open, to check out recent changes to the course.
In the end, he couldn’t quite overcome his second-round 73 in a steady rain at TPC Potomac, but he certainly gave it a shot as he begins a busy stretch of six tournaments in eight weeks.
If he was picky, McIlroy said, he might fault his late-Sunday shot selection at the Wells Fargo.
“Like the shot selection into 16 there trying to hit a hard wedge and not quite getting all of it, hitting the slope, spinning back to the front of the green,” said McIlroy, who nonetheless two-putted for par. “You hit a three-quarter 9-iron, that maybe doesn’t happen.”
Otherwise, he said, all systems are go as he heads toward a busy summer. First and foremost, McIlroy, like many others, looked forward to getting warm after a tough week of weather.
“Jeez, all year it’s just been wind or rain or a combination of both,” he said. “Tulsa might be hot, but I’m looking forward to hopefully not having to get the umbrella out for a while.”