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Tokyo 2020: Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy miss out on golf bronze

Tokyo 2020: Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy miss out on golf bronze
© Reuters
Xander Schauffele won gold, with Rory Sabbatini taking silver.

Paul Casey and Rory McIlroy saw their hopes of an Olympic golf medal disappear in a play-off fight for bronze at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Great Britain hopeful Casey and Irish star McIlroy were among seven players who finished tied for third after 72 holes.

Casey and Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama were the first to bow out, and McIlroy departed when he missed a birdie putt at the third extra hole.

It left Open champion Collin Morikawa and Chinese Taipei’s CT Pan to battle it out for bronze, and it was Pan who prevailed with a par at the fourth additional hole.

American Xander Schauffele took gold, finishing on 18 under par to become his country’s first Olympic golf champion since Charles Sands in 1900.

But his one-shot victory came only after he withstood a fierce onslaught from Rory Sabbatini, whose final round of 61 was an Olympic record.

South Africa-born Sabbatini, who now represents Slovakia, hit an eagle, 10 birdies and two bogeys during an action-packed round.

But Schauffele held his nerve, shooting a final round of 67 to win gold.

For Casey, it was ultimately a hard-luck story, and he said: “There is triumph and there is heartache. We have seen it in the village and in Team GB, and now it is on the golf course as well.

“I wish I had my driver working a bit better, and I struggled, but I battled hard and I am proud of how hard I worked and how much I squeezed out of my game.

“I would have loved to have brought a medal home, not just for me but for Team GB. It would have been the ultimate. But the whole week has been phenomenal.

“I have been in multiple play-offs in my career – none as big as that – but it is no different as a three-man play-off.

“I was with Hideki and Rory and just had to worry about my own golf. Again, I did not hit the tee shot I wanted to, and made bogey.”

McIlroy was disappointed to miss out on a medal but admitted his experience in Tokyo had changed his opinion on golf in the Olympics.

“I made some comments before that were probably uneducated and impulsive, but coming here experiencing it, seeing, feeling everything that goes on, not just Olympic golf but just the Olympics in general, that sort of Olympic spirit’s definitely bitten me,” McIlroy said.

“It makes me even more determined going to Paris and trying to pick one (a medal) up. It’s disappointing going away from here without any hardware, I’ve been saying all day I never tried so hard in my life to finish third.

“But it’s been a great experience. Today was a great day to be up there in contention for a medal, certainly had a different feeling to it than I expected and I’m already looking forward to three years’ time and trying to go at least one better, but hopefully three better.”

Tommy Fleetwood shot a final round of 70 to finish tied for 16th, while Ireland’s Shane Lowry was tied 22nd.

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