Rory McIlroy believes he will win the Masters title he needs to complete the career grand slam despite letting his best chance to date slip away.
McIlroy began the final round three shots off the lead and closed to within a shot of eventual winner Patrick Reed after two holes, but faded badly with a closing 74 at Augusta National.
And although it was not the collapse of 2011, when he enjoyed a four-shot lead after 54 holes before crashing to a closing 80, the Northern Irishman could be forgiven for wondering if his place in history will remain elusive.
“I played probably some of the best golf I’ve ever played here, it just wasn’t meant to be,” McIlroy said. “Of course it’s frustrating and it’s hard to take any positives from it right now, but at least I put myself in a position, that’s all I’ve wanted to do.
“For the last four years I’ve had top 10s but I haven’t been close enough to the lead. Today I got myself there, I didn’t quite do enough but I’ll still come back next year and try again.
“I think 100% I can come back and win here. I’ve played in two final groups in the last seven years, I’ve had five top 10s, I play this golf course well. I just haven’t played it well enough at the right times.
“The putter let me down a little bit, I just wasn’t quite as trusting as I was the first few days and that made a big difference. I was trying to hit good shots and good putts and anytime I felt like I hit a good shot I got myself on the wrong side of the pin or gave myself a tricky one down the hill.
“Then when I did get some chances I didn’t take advantage of them. It was a tough day and hopefully I’ll be better next time.
“It was like every time I took a step forward I took a step back on the next hole. I had a chance to maybe put a bit more pressure on him than I did and I’d say three and five are the ones that I’d look back on and if I could have made pars there it could have been a different story.”