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Rory McIlroy sinks Irish Open hopes with four water balls

In his quest for a second Irish Open title, Rory McIlroy rinsed a sleeve of balls, plus one.

McIlroy’s closing 2-over 74 Sunday at The K Club dropped McIlroy from solo third and in the final threesome to T-16, five shots back of winner Vincent Norrman.

Water ball No. 1 came at the par-4 seventh hole. McIlroy was tied for the lead at 13 under when his 9-iron from 158 yards out missed the green right, hit some rocks and ended up in the penalty area.

McIlroy double-bogeyed the hole and followed with three straight pars before the second water ball, at the par-4 11th hole. This time from 136 yards out, McIlroy yanked a wedge left and into the water. He’d then get up and down for his bogey.

While McIlroy got that shot back with birdie at the par-4 13th hole, by then he was already out of contention as Norrman closed in 7-under 65 to finish at 14 under, which would eventually be good for a one-shot victory.

As McIlroy tried to steer his disappointing round into the clubhouse, things got much worse. McIlroy hit his second (260 yards) and fourth (160 yards) shots into the water guarding the right side of the par-5 16th green. McIlroy then deposited his sixth into a greenside bunker before carding a triple-bogey 8.

A par-birdie finish and McIlroy would sign for 74 to finish at 9 under.