Monday, 12 August 2013
Rory McIlroy   (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

After the Swedish pair of Henrik Stenson and Jonas Blixt finished top of the pile in terms of Europeans at the US PGA Championship, there were also good showings from Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Marc Warren at Oak Hill Country Club.

With Stenson and Blixt finishing third and fourth respectively, McIlroy made a costly triple bogey at the fifth after finding the water on approach, but rallied with three birdies in five holes to finish with a level par 70 for a share of eighth place in a wholly respectable defence of the title he won so memorably in 2012.

McDowell, meanwhile, shone on Sunday in Rochester, surging 22 places up the leaderboard into a tie for 12th thanks to a fine four under par 66 that featured four bogeys but eight birdies – including five in succession from the fourth.

Superb rounds of 67, 68 and a final day 69 from Scotland’s Warren sealed a berth alongside McDowell in a share of 12th at two under par, after the 32 year old also found a mix of bogeys and birdies to complete a career-best finish in his third Major Championship appearance.

What they said

Rory McIlroy (-3, tied eighth)
“I played my best golf of the week today.  I hit some really good drives and really good iron shots.  I didn't quite putt as well as I did the first three days, but I’m really, really happy with my game going into the next few weeks.

“I didn't hit many bad shots out there today. I made a big number on the fifth but even there it was  a good shot but I just got unlucky with where it pitched.

“This was a very big week for me, I saw a lot of great signs out there today.  Hopefully I can just bring that through to the next few weeks and have a strong finish to the season.”

Graeme McDowell (-2, tied 12th)
“It's been a frustrating few months, but that was a little glimmer of light, something to take away. It was nice to get some momentum out there. To make eight birdies was very pleasing.

“The putter has been cold for the last few months. It’s been a disappointing few months even with the French Open win in there.  There has been some very average ball striking and very average technique. I feel like I kind of got it back on track a little this week.

“It's very difficult to have your game exacted for these Major weeks. It's hard to peak, it's hard to be ready. I missed the cut at the Masters and I win the week after. I missed the cut at the US Open and won a couple of weeks after at the French Open.

“It's a hard game. It's hard to get it right on the day.  The Major Championships are the toughest tests in golf, as we know.  They stress you, they frustrate you.  That's why great players win Majors, because they are hard to win.”

Marc Warren (-2, tied 12th)
“I am delighted. Practice went great for me and I was really frustrated on Thursday night - I just felt I was trying to be too perfect with the golf swing and I paid the price. But in the last three rounds I got out of my own way and just had one simple feeling and committed to that on every shot.

“To finish a Major, especially the US PGA, with three rounds in the 60s is very pleasing. It was a great atmosphere out there. Before the start of the week, I would definitely have taken the way I played. I felt really comfortable and confident with everything I was doing. The last three days felt very stress free which is a little unusual on a golf course as tough as this.

"It has been a great year so far and this is just another step in the right direction. A good finish in a Major is something I have obviously not done before. In the next one, I will want to do even better. It has been a great week."

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