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McIlroy went into the final round at Brookline three shots off the lead and made the ideal start with a birdie on the first, but carded a total of three birdies and four bogeys in his first 11 holes to effectively end his chances.
Birdies on the 14th and 15th helped McIlroy complete a closing 69 and share fifth place with Open champion Collin Morikawa, meaning he has finished second, eighth and fifth in this year’s majors.
Asked if he would take any positives away from the week, McIlroy – whose last major win was the 2014 US PGA – said: “Yeah, the game’s there. Another top five in a major; I guess doesn’t really mean anything.
“I’ve got one more start next week in Hartford before I go to the Open Championship. I’ll get two weeks of good rest before the Open and play some links golf and prepare and look forward to that.
“Again, my game’s in good shape. I’ve got one more chance this year to try to get that major.
“It’s still not quite close enough. There was a few holes there today where I made the birdie and then made bogey at the next. To win golf tournaments you just can’t do that.
“I’ll look back at this as another missed opportunity just as Southern Hills (venue for the US PGA) was, but missed opportunities are better than not contending at all. So that is a positive.
“I have to stay patient at this point because if I just keep putting myself in position, sooner or later it’s going to be my day and I’m going to get one.”