Rory McIlroy remained in contention last night to claim his first title of the year although it was Martin Laird, a fellow Briton, who began the final round of the Texas Open in sensational style.
McIlroy, after his opening eight holes, was two shots off joint leaders Laird and Billy Horschel as he seeks to regain his form and gather some momentum ahead of the Masters this week.
The Northern Irishman birdied the par-five second with a 13-foot putt and, although he bogeyed the fourth, he immediately atoned for his error by picking up another shot on his next hole as well as at the eighth. After a sluggish start to the season, a high finish in this event would be the perfect preparation for the world No 2 ahead of his challenge for a first Green Jacket at Augusta.
But Laird and Horschel were the men to catch on 10 under overall in the early part of the final round last night, with the former hitting five birdies in his opening eight holes to move into a share of the lead.
The Scot picked up shots at the second, third, fifth, sixth and eighth holes to give him a glorious chance of winning his first tournament since triumphing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational a little over two years ago. Horschel, meanwhile, was level par for the day after his first seven holes.
Jim Furyk, the 2003 US Open champion, was in third on nine under while K J Choi was alongside McIlroy a further shot behind the American.
Australian Wade Ormsby held his nerve to overcome a triple bogey and complete a wire-to-wire victory by one stroke for his maiden professional title at the Panasonic Open in India yesterday. Ormsby, who held at least a share of the lead from the opening round, carded a final-round one-under-par 71 for a total of nine-under 279 to finish a shot ahead of Thailand’s Boonchu Ruangkit (69) at the Delhi Golf Club.
Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing (72), who had the lead briefly during the final round, was third while India’s Shiv Kapur (71) bogeyed two of his last three holes to finish fourth.
Starting the day with a one-stroke lead, Ormsby came back strongly after the triple bogey by sinking three birdies in four holes from the fifth to the eighth hole. An 18-foot birdie conversion on the 17th was enough to seal his victory.