McIlroy confident of rebounding from Pinehurst pain

Rory McIlroy insists he can recover from his agonising US Open collapse at Pinehurst when he returns to action in this week’s Scottish Open.

McIlroy held a two-shot lead with five holes to play at the US Open as he moved to the brink of his first Major title since 2014.

But he bogeyed three of the last four holes, missing from two feet and six inches on the 16th and three feet and nine inches on the last to finish a shot behind Bryson DeChambeau.

The 35-year-old’s stunning meltdown rekindled painful memories of his 2011 Masters disappointment when he squandered a four-shot lead in the final round.

McIlroy bounced back from that disaster by winning his first Major in the US Open two months later and the Northern Irish star hopes he can repeat the trick in next week’s Open at Royal Troon.

“I look back on that day at Pinehurst just like I look back on some of the toughest moments in my career and I’ll learn a lot from it and hopefully put that to good use,” McIlroy said on Wednesday.

“It’s something that’s been a bit of a theme throughout my career, I’ve been able to take those tough moments and turn them into great things not very long after that.

“It’s been a while since I’ve won a Major but I felt worse after some other losses. I felt worse after Augusta in ’11 and I felt worse after St Andrews [the 2022 Open].

“It was up there with the tough losses but not the toughest. I did things on that Sunday that I haven’t been able to do the last couple of years and took control of the golf tournament.

“The way I’d describe Pinehurst on Sunday was it was a great day until it wasn’t.”

Before heading to The Open, McIlroy will be defending his Scottish Open title from Thursday and he expects to show the form that took him so close to the US Open crown prior to his collapse.

“I stewed on what happened at Pinehurst for a couple of days, but then, thankfully, I can go home and look at what I’ve achieved in the game and sort of feel OK about myself,” he said.

“It was a great opportunity. It passed me by but hopefully when I get that next opportunity, it won’t pass me by. Troon is just another opportunity.

“I’m playing great golf and it’s another opportunity to see how I can hopefully handle it better than I handled it a few weeks ago.”

McIlroy also insisted he had no regrets about leaving the US Open course without congratulating DeChambeau in person or speaking to the media.

“No offence, you guys were the least of my worries at that point,” he told reporters.

© Agence France-Presse

Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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