McIlroy, Mickelson end over par

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson ended disappointing Masters on Sunday with the No. 2-ranked McIlroy shooting a 3-under par 69 to finish 2 over and in a tie for 25th and three-time Masters champion Mickelson ending 9 over for the tournament after a final-round 73 to finish tied for 54th.

Sunday marked the 23-year-old McIlroy's best round of the week.

On Saturday, McIlroy shot a 79 that included a 42 on the second nine. It marked second consecutive year that the Northern Irishman's chances of winning his first green jacket were stalled by a poor third round.

Meanwhile, the 2013 Masters was only the fifth time in 21 starts at Augusta that the 42-year-old Mickelson hasn't broken 70.

"I just had an off year," Mickelson said. "I don't know what to tell you. I played poorly. Today was the first time that Butch and I -- we had some good direction and I'll have something to work on these next two weeks before I play at Charlotte and The Players.

"But this was disappointing for me in that this is my favorite place in the world to play."

McIlroy had a 77 in his third round in 2012. The weekends have confounded him in his five appearances at Augusta. In 2011, when he came into the final round with a four-shot lead, he shot an 80.

"I definitely hit the ball a little better today for sure," McIlroy said. "I didn't feel like I played too differently today than I did yesterday, but I said yesterday that the margins here are so small and if you just go on the wrong side it can punish you very harshly.

"I'm looking forward to the next few weeks and playing well, I'm comfortable with my game and hopefully I can try and get the first win of the season."

McIlroy's 69 on Sunday was his best score in eight career rounds on the weekend at the Masters.

"I feel like I played smart enough," McIlroy said on Saturday. "I mean, I'm playing it the way I know the way you should play it. I'm not taking too much on, I'm not being too defensive.

"I feel like my strategy's right, it's just sometimes if your execution is just that little bit off you pay a big price for it."