set to peak | 

Rory McIlroy and Pádraig Harrington look in Major form after close calls last weekend

Rory McIlroy reacts to his tee shot on the third hole

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy and Pádraig Harrington look set to peak for majors despite coming short in their glory bids this weekend.

The Irish duo were six shots off the lead heading into their respective final rounds in the United States.

But while McIlroy carded a two-under 68 to finish tied fifth, four shots behind Max Homa in the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship in Maryland, Harrington came even closer, firing nine birdies in an eight-under 64 to finish tied second in the PGA TOUR Champions’ Mitsubishi Electric Classic in Atlanta.

The Dubliner (50) turned in two-under at TPC Sugarloaf, then birdied the first five holes on the back nine and rolled in a seven-footer at the 17th to tie for the lead with David Toms and Steve Flesch on 10-under.

However, he couldn't birdie the reachable, par-five 18th, and left-hander Flesch birdied the 17th and 18th to shoot 65 and win by a shot from the Dubliner, Fred Couples and Toms on 11-under.

As for McIlroy, he briefly got to within two shots of the lead at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm with eight to play but covered them in one-over, sandwiching a birdie at the 14th between bogeys at the 10th and 18th to finish fifth on four-under.

Homa shot 68 to win his second PGA Tour title by a shot from overnight leader Keegan Bradley (72), Matt Fitzpatrick (67) and Cameron Young (66) on eight-under.

McIlroy and Harrington will still have high hopes heading into majors, with the Dubliner chasing his maiden senior major in this week's Regions Tradition at Greystone in Alabama before joining the Holywood star in next week's US PGA at Southern Hills.

"It was a solid day, played well," said McIlroy, who all but confirmed he'll miss the Horizon Irish Open from June 30 to July 3 as he'll play four events in a row — the Memorial, the Canadian Open, the US Open and the Travelers — in June.

"Had my chances, played the last eight holes in one over, which whenever you give yourself a chance and got within three, obviously not the way you want to finish, but played well.”

Set for a week off before heading to Tulsa, McIlroy added: "Overall, it's been a good weekend, a decent week, something to build on going into the PGA. I'm really happy with where my game is."

Meanwhile, Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen put a three-year nightmare behind him when he finished eagle-birdie for the second day running to claim a dramatic one-shot win in the Betfred British Masters at the Belfry.

Just five months ago, the former Ryder Cup star (32) was acquitted on all charges after a three-day trial arising from being drunk on an aircraft in July 2019.

The former world number 33 was suspended by the DP World Tour and fell outside the top 500 before rounds of 66, 70 and 69 gave him a three-stroke overnight lead heading into yesterday's final round.

Struggling with his game, he turned in two-over, then bogeyed the 14th and 15th to trail clubhouse leader Sebastian Soderberg of Sweden before making a 28 footer for an eagle three at the 17th and a 35 footer for birdie at the last for a 73 and his first win since 2018

In Spain, Olivia Mehaffey clinched her career-best finish on the Ladies European Tour when she closed with a five-under 67 at Jarama-RACE Golf Club to finish solo ninth behind Spain's Ana Pelaez in the Comunidad de Madrid Ladies Open.

At County Louth, Knock's Katie Poots (16) won the Flogas Irish Girls' Amateur Open title as her two-under 72 left her four shots behind Scotland's Lorna McClymont in the Irish Women's Amateur Open.

As McClymont birdied the last three holes and shot a four-under 70 for a four-shot win on nine-under, Poots shot a two-under 72 for a one-shot victory in the Under 18 event over Irish teammate Marina Joyce Moreno, who was third overall after a bogey-free 72.

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