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Getting shirty Rory McIlroy rips shirt in frustration after final-round collapse in Dubai

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Rory McIlroy looks dejected on the 18th green after Day Four of The DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy looks dejected on the 18th green after Day Four of The DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy looks dejected on the 18th green after Day Four of The DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy suffered one of the most painful meltdowns of his career when he was outplayed down the stretch and denied the DP World Tour Championship by Collin Morikawa before almost ripping his shirt off his chest in frustration.

As the Californian (24) birdied five of the last seven holes and closed with a six-under 66 to win by three shots from Matthew Fitzpatrick on 17-under par, McIlroy bogeyed three of his last four holes and closed with a 74 to finish five behind in a tie for sixth.

The Co Down man was so furious with himself, he ripped his Nike shirt on the way to the recording area and while he was not expected to stop to speak to media, he emerged with the right side of his shirt hanging off and was quickly ushered away in a buggy, leaving without saying a word.

Seeking his third win of the year, McIlroy was leading by one stroke with six holes to play, but quickly found himself one behind the fast-finishing Morikawa when his 36-yard approach to the 15th hit the pin and ricocheted into a bunker, leading to a bogey.

From there it was a comedy of errors and as Morikawa birdied the 17th to go two clear, McIlroy three putted the 16th to fall three behind, then dropped another shot at the last by slicing wildly into the desert.

He almost produced a miraculous recovery with a huge hook from the trees, but found water short of the green, then three putted for a six after a penalty drop.

“It feels so good,” Morikawa said after a €3 million payday. “I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t watching what Matt Fitzpatrick was doing today. Boy, did he put on a run. Props to him. Made a lot of birdies early on.

"But it's 18 holes. All I needed to do was catch a spark. I feel great right now. Winning the DP World Tour Championship, coming here last year, my first time to Dubai, really special.”

McIlroy looked poised to claim his 15th win and join Pádraig Harrington as the most successful Irish player in the history of the European Tour when he took a one-stroke lead heading down the final six holes without ever getting out of second gear.

But the four-time Major winner’s title hopes suffered a killer blow when his 36-yard approach ricocheted off the flagstick into a bunker at the 15th, and he made bogey as Morikawa birdied the 12th, 14th and 15th to take the lead, then drained a 20 footer at the 17th to move two clear.

Chasing now, McIlroy went for broke from 30 feet for birdie at the 16th, but he raced his 30 footer six feet past and lipped out for par as Morikawa closed in style with a birdie four.

The Ulsterman led by a stroke overnight from England’s Sam Horsfield (tied ninth after a 74), birdied the par-five second but bogeyed the par-three fourth after bunkering his tee shot.

He then parred his way to the turn but found himself a shot adrift of defending champion Fitzpatrick, who birdied the second, sixth, seventh, eighth, 10th and 15th to get to 15-under as he sought the win he needed to win the Race to Dubai should Morikawa finish worse than ninth.

However, Fitzpatrick’s title bid unravelled down the stretch as he found water greenside at the 16th after bunkering his tee shot, then dropped another shot at the 17th when he bunkered his tee shot.

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The Sheffield man birdied the 18th to card a 66 and set the target at 16-under.

Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre got to within a shot of McIlroy through 11 holes but double-bogeyed the 12th and bogeyed the 13th before going to finish tied fourth with Nicolai Hojgaard on 13-under after a 71.

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Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, Brendan Lawlor , Collin Morikawa of United States and David Williams, Chairman of the European Tour after Day Four of The DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, Brendan Lawlor , Collin Morikawa of United States and David Williams, Chairman of the European Tour after Day Four of The DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, Brendan Lawlor , Collin Morikawa of United States and David Williams, Chairman of the European Tour after Day Four of The DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Morikawa, who was three behind overnight, turned in one-under before birdies at the 12th (16ft), 14th (3ft) and 15th (9 ft) saw him draw level with McIlroy on 15-under.

The Co Down golfer failed to birdie the par-five 14th for the fourth day in a row, before that approach to the 371-yard 15th hit the flagstick and ricocheted into a bunker. His sand wedge to the fringe failed to make the putting surface and he then two-putted from 12 feet for bogey.

He was soon two strokes behind Morikawa, who extended his lead to two strokes when he rolled in a 20 footer for a two at the 195-yard 17th.

McIlroy needed a hot finish to have any chance of winning his 15th European Tour event, but he charged his birdie putt six feet past at the 16th and missed the return to run up a three-putt bogey.

After scrambling for par at the 17th, he drove into the trees at the 18th but attempting a huge hook from there, found water short of the green and three-putted for a bogey six after a penalty drop.

Lowry claimed his sixth top 10 finish from 26 starts this year when he tied for ninth on 11-under after a 72 to end up 20th in the Race to Dubai on another up and down day.

The Clara man birdied the first and third to get within one stroke of the lead but bogeyed the fifth after short-siding himself, then doubled bogeyed the ninth after taking four to get down from left of the green.

The former Open champion (34) parred his way to the 18th, where he finished with a birdie four to bring his season to an end.

As for McIlroy, he can only take the positives from 2021 having won twice on the PGA Tour and re-united with coach Michael Bannon.

His long game looks close to its best while his short game and putting appears to have moved to a new level.

Only four players shot higher on the final day but he was caught napping by a sensational Morikawa and that bad break at the 15th

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