Despite losing out to Keegan Bradley at the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, fifth placed Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose had plenty of positives to take away from Firestone.
England’s Rose fired four birdies and just the one bogey en route to a three under par 67 while his Northern Irish counterpart signed for a 68 on a weather-affected final day in Akron, Ohio, as electrical storms had earlier threatened the action on the final day of the year’s third World Golf Championship.
McIlroy also carded just one bogey after getting in trouble on the par four ninth, but birdies at the long second, par four third and short 15th, plus a wealth of aggressive shot-making throughout the fourth round showed 2011 US Open Champion McIlroy is coming into something resembling top form ahead of the final Major Championship of the year being held next week at Kiawah Island in South Carolina.
“A decent week,” McIlroy summarised. “I had a lot of chances out there today but played solid and to shoot 68 in those conditions was pretty good. I burned the edges a lot of times but they were good putts that just didn’t go in; but I’m getting into the positions to have the chances which is all you can ask for really.”
In a similar vein to McIlroy, Rose, who currently heads The 2012 Race to Dubai largely thanks to a superb victory at March’s WGC-Cadillac Championship in Florida, picked up back-to-back strokes at the second and third before dropping his solitary shot of the day after three-putting the tenth.
Further birdies at the short 12th and 667-yard par five 16th helped the five-time European Tour Champion into a share for fifth place alongside McIlroy, though, five shots behind eventual winner Bradley.
“It’s been a pretty good week overall,” said 31 year old Rose. “I played some nice stuff at points out there today so I am pretty happy with where the game is going into next week. It’s going to be a different test to this week obviously but I feel good about my game – hopefully I can keep that going and get the breaks you need to contend in a Major.”
Rose will be looking to take his Firestone form into next week’s US PGA Championship, an event he has had limited success in in recent times, having missed the cut in all three of his last appearances at the fourth and final Major Championship of the season.
McIlroy’s tied fifth place finish in Akron marks his third top five in a row in the 2012 World Golf Championships after he finished runner-up at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and third at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, and the Ulsterman has fared much better than his English colleague at the US PGA in the last three years, having finished tied for third in both the 2009 and 2010 editions before a tied 64th place last year at Atlantic Athletic Club.
“I’m mainly just pleased with how I played from tee to green,” McIlroy continued. “I gave myself a lot of chances which is good to see because my greens in regulation have been down for the last few weeks so to get that back up again was encouraging and also has given me a nice bit of confidence going into next week at Kiawah.”