Rory McIlroy experiences deja vu in Omega European Masters

Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy experiences deja vu in Omega European Masters

Euro Tour

Rory McIlroy experiences deja vu in Omega European Masters

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Rory McIlroy let the Omega European Masters slip through his fingers for the second time in his career as Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg won his first European Tour title. It was a case of deju vu for the World No. 2: he lost the title in a playoff for the second time.

McIlroy bogeyed the final hole in 2008 and then lost in sudden death to France’s Jeff Lucquin. The 18th proved to be his undoing this year too, as McIlroy came up short in a five-man playoff with Soderberg, Lorenzo Gagli of Italy, Finn Kalle Samooja and Andres Romero of Argentina.

The Northern Irishman had two chances to win on the 18th on Sunday, but couldn’t get the job done. After five birdies in six holes, McIlroy came to the 18th needing another birdie to break out of a logjam at 14-under. However, he hit his worst shot of the round when it mattered most. He carved his tee shot right on the 18th and his ball ended up behind a wall. His only shot was back to the fairway. He then hit his 122-yard wedge shot to within two feet of the hole and walked off with a par. It was good enough to get into the playoff.

He had a chance to extend the playoff on 18 after Soderberg’s birdie, but his 10-foot birdie putt missed on the left side. McIlroy, who bogeyed the final two holes on Saturday, blamed the loss on the fatigue of winning the FedEx Cup.

“This is my seventh event in eight weeks, so I’ve played a lot of golf,” McIlroy said. “I think just playing that much, little mental errors creep in. The sloppy finish yesterday probably cost me. I fought back today and did my best, and it wasn’t meant to be.”

The World No. 2 now has two weeks off before he gets back to action in the BMW PGA Championship.

“I’m going to put the clubs away for a few days, just sort of rest and recover and reflect on what’s been a pretty good season so far, and try to get myself back up for Wentworth.”

Soderberg arrived in Switzerland ranked 120th on the Race to Dubai facing a tense fight for the rest of the season to retain his playing rights for next year. Aside from picking up $450,000 for his first European Tour win, the 28-year-old earned an exemption on the European Tour until the end of 2021.

The Swede had a chance to win the title in regulation play, but he three putted the 17th from 12 feet. He then missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have won him the title.

“I was shaking coming down the last two holes but I kind of calmed down a little for the playoff,” Soderberg said.

“I just kind could feel crumbling up a little bit. I’m very proud of myself to play good when I feel like I’m shaking.”

Soderberg will remember Switzerland 2019 for the rest of his life. Rory will try to forget it until he gets another chance to win. He’ll be hoping for third time lucky.

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