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1 October 2017, 16:53
Rory McIlroy was pleased with his performance in the final round of the British Masters supported by Sky Sports and delighted to have been in contention for a title once again.
The Northern Irishman carded a seven-under 63 at Close House Golf Club, but still came up short as he had to settle for second place behind Paul Dunne.
Dunne claimed his first European Tour victory with a fabulous nine-under 61 to keep McIlroy and the remainder of a high-quality field at bay as he triumphed by three shots.
McIlroy made a move on the front nine with three successive birdies from the sixth before a bogey at the 11th checked his charge.
Five birdies in six holes from the 12th then followed, but Dunne held firm to earn the praise of the world No 6.
"It was good," said McIlroy. "It was just nice to have a chance to win a golf tournament. I think that was the big thing and the more chances I have like that, I seem to play better. Mentally I am just a little bit more engaged and switched on.
"I started okay today. I started a little more slowly than yesterday but I was three-under through nine and Paul got off to a great start.
"I set myself a target on the back nine. I said to myself 'if I can shoot four-under on this back nine and finish 17-under I feel like I will have a chance'.
"So I did everything that I wanted to do, it just wasn't good enough in the end today."
Dunne was claiming his maiden victory at the 51st attempt and McIlroy said he fully deserved the win.
"It was unbelievable to shoot 61 to win his first Tour event," said McIlroy.
"It's incredibly impressive. I'm happy for him as well. He works hard on his game. Every time I'm out practising on the putting green or chipping green he's always there, and he's always working hard. So it's very well deserved."
McIlroy will now head to Scotland to play in next week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - his final tournament of the year - alongside his father Gerry.
"He [Gerry] rang me a couple of days ago and said it's good to see you've got your game in shape for me so I'm looking forward to it," added McIlroy.
"We always have a great time up there. The weather's not supposed to be too bad, I don't think, so I'm really looking forward to going up there and giving it another shot and trying to win a tournament this year."