Rory McIlroy stumbles out of contention at U.S. Open, finishes T7 as drought in majors continues

SAN DIEGO -- The quest for another major championship will have to wait for Rory McIlroy.

In position to secure what would have been his fifth major and first since 2014, McIlroy stumbled Sunday on two of the toughest holes on the South Course at Torrey Pines, derailing his chances.

He wasn't alone.

The 10th, 11th and 12th holes were among the most difficult all week, and McIlroy three-putted the 11th for bogey, then double-bogeyed the 12th on Sunday.

"I felt like tee to green, I was really solid for the first few holes, but once I made those little mistakes on 11 and 12, I felt like I was just chasing a little bit, and then ultimately couldn't really get anything done from there," he said.

The 11th hole was the start of his downfall after two excellent shots set up a birdie putt from 25 feet. McIlroy had played smartly, avoiding a tucked pin. Then he three-putted.

Then on the 12th, ranked as the most difficult, McIlroy pulled his drive into a fairway bunker and was left with a poor stance. He did all he could to advance the ball, and his third shot left him 20 yards from the green but still in the rough. McIlroy was unable to get it up and down from there, and settled for a double-bogey 6.

That knocked him from a shot out of the lead to 4 shots back in a hurry.

"But overall it's been a good week," said McIlroy, who tied for seventh and was 5 shots back of winner Jon Rahm after a 73. "I put up a good fight. I started the round well today. With the three-putt on 11, that sort of stopped the momentum, and then I got a little unlucky on 12 and made double from there. Take those two holes out, the rest of the week was really good.

"I think the best way to describe it is I think the last few times I've been in this sort of position, I've went out on Sunday hoping to play well, where I feel like now I know what to do to play well and I know I have the tools to play well, and it's just a matter of execution and sticking to what I've been working on. It was way better today. The score doesn't suggest it. There was two holes that really, as I said, were the end of my title hopes, but apart from that this week, it's been really positive."

The last of McIlroy's four major championships came at the 2014 PGA Championship. This was his 16th top-10 in a major without a victory since the PGA win.