McIlroy eager to take positives, Spieth reflects on mediocre week


Rory McIlroy tried to take the positives from yet another near-miss at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, after finishing in a tie for third as Rickie Fowler triumphed on Sunday.

McIlroy has frequently contended in the lucrative European Tour event - this weekend's close call representing his sixth top-three finish at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

However, the four-time major champion has yet to win the tournament and admitted to a sense of frustration upon finishing two shots behind Fowler at 14 under, despite eagling the 18th for a second time in three attempts.

"[It is] not quite what I wanted," said McIlroy. "It seems like this could be the tournament that I just can't quite master.

"I've played a lot of good golf here and I was just saying there was a stretch of 18 holes in the middle of the tournament, I think I played them in one-over par and you just can't do that.

"I wasted a lot of opportunities out there this week, so it really is a story of what could have been. [It was] still a good finish and [there was] a lot of good golf in there, so there are plenty of positives to take away.

"Something just sort of clicked for me on the back nine [in the final round] - there was a couple of long putts, a holed chip and an eagle at the last.

"It got me a little closer to the lead but I left myself just a bit too much to do after that front nine.

"It's not a bad way to start the season."

A duel between McIlroy and world number one Jordan Spieth had been forecast, but neither man could beat Fowler - the player they were grouped with for the first two rounds.

Spieth birdied four of the last seven holes on Sunday, but was out of contention by that point and finished joint-fifth, five shots off the pace.

"We were off this week," said Spieth. "I didn't make anything. I didn't give myself a lot of chances the first couple of rounds, so I didn't get in a rhythm, and then when I did have chances they just wouldn't go.

"We kept our head in it there, finished four under on the last seven holes, to carry some momentum going forward off of a week where I could have just bagged it in."