McGinley stood one stroke behind Tiger Woods and Kenny Perry entering the final round of the WGC-NEC Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. He clawed his way to a share of the lead late in his round, despite a double-bogey 5 at 12, the result of a three-putt debacle. Tied with Woods as he was teeing off at 17, he let destiny slip from his grasp by missing a par putt on that green, while Woods was making the most audacious of birdies on 16, having recovered from driving his tee shot deep into the woods. That two-stroke swing stood up at the end of play, with McGinley sharing third place, one stroke shy of runner-up Chris DiMarco.
“This is the first time I’ve competed at the world level to a large extent and I thought I handled myself well,” McGinley said. “It was the first time I was in the heat of winning. It’s a learning process you know. I might be old in terms of years (36), but in terms of experience I’m pretty young. But I know now that one of these big victories is achievable. I know because I dug deep, I hung on really well, and I had a strong finish.”
McGinley’s 72-hole score was 276 (71-66-67-72). Vijay Singh and Ryan Palmer occupied the third spot with him. Further down the leaderboard stood Padraig Harrington, tied for 24th place at 282 (75-68-69-70), and Darren Clarke, amidst a group in 28th position with scores of 284 (76-68-72-68). Graeme McDowell withdrew from the event due to complications suffered in an automobile accident two weeks prior.
Colm Moriarty has provided himself with plenty of motivation for his next appearance on the links. The leader at the 36- and 54-hole stages of the Skandia PGA Open at Arlandastad Golf Club in Sweden, Moriarty fell apart in the early stages of Sunday’s final round. Bogeys on 2, 3 and 4 were met by a birdie on 5, but then a double-bogey 5 on 7 paved the way to 37 for the front nine. He played the back nine even and finished with 74 for the round, which put him three strokes off the winning score, tied for fifth place. He shot 275 (66-66-69-74) for the event, which was five strokes under par. Stephen Browne shared 16th position at 279 (69-70-70-70).