ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — The tee shot sailed into the prickly gorse, and with it went any chance Paul Casey had of winning the British Open.
The Englishman, 32, was the only player who had any hope of catching Louis Oosthuizen in the final round at the Old Course. With no way to hit out of the thick bushes left of the 12th fairway, he could only take a penalty drop. Unnerved, Casey finish with triple-bogey 7.
"I should have been making 5, at worst 6," he said. "That was very annoying."
Oosthuizen made birdie at the same hole, and a four-shot margin grew to a staggering eight.
Even if that shot hadn't veered off course, it's unlikely that Casey would have caught Oosthuizen.
"As disappointed as I am with the way I played (Sunday), Louis was in a different league," said Casey, who shot 3-over 75 to tie for third at 8-under 280, eight back. "You know, that softens my disappointment slightly, because it was a tremendous performance. Hats off to him."
What might have been: One bad round. Take that away, and Rory McIlroy's walk up the 18th might have been triumphant.
"I couldn't help but think about Friday going up the last hole there," McIlroy said after shooting 4-under 68 to tie for third. "You know, if I had just sort of stuck in a little bit more on Friday and held it together more, it could have been a different story."
Take away the 80 on Friday and give him a score in the 60s, as he had the other three days, and it explains why McIlroy, 21, wasn't thrilled with his best major finish.
"I'm still a bit disappointed, to be honest, because I know if I could have played anywhere decent on Friday, I could have been a lot closer to the lead," said McIlroy, who tied the major record with 63 on Thursday.
Staying amateur: South Korean Jin Jeong, 20, the only amateur to make the cut, tied for 14th. Though he can compete with the pros, he put his plans to turn pro in September on hold. "I can play the Masters next year, and I really want to play that tournament," the British Amateur champion said. "So I'll probably stay amateur until then."