Masters 2014: Rory McIlroy joint eighth at Augusta

McIlroy upbeat after best Masters finish

Rory McIlroy secured his best finish at the Masters with a closing three-under-par 69 leaving him in a tie for eighth.

The Northern Irishman, 24, recorded six birdies in the final round at Augusta but also had three bogeys on his card.

The world number nine was level par for the par five holes over the course of his four rounds at Augusta this week.

His compatriot Darren Clarke fired a four-over 76 to finish tied for 44th on nine over while Bubba Watson won his second Masters title on eight under.

Clarke's round included two double bogeys, three bogeys and three birdies.

The former Open champion from Dungannon began his round in disappointing fashion with a bogey at the first, but immediately picked up a birdie at the second.

Clarke had a double bogey at the par-three fourth, a bogey at the sixth and a birdie at the eighth.

Darren Clarke says he believes the Augusta course is getting tougher after posting a closing 76

A double bogey followed at the 12th after he found the water, but a good bunker shot set up a birdie at the 13th.

A bogey at the 14th and a birdie at the 15th was followed by three pars.

"I played quite nicely but you are always on a knife edge round here," said Clarke.

"I had hoped for better but the course is getting tougher and tougher," he added.

McIlroy dropped a shot at the fourth, but consecutive birdies at the seventh, eighth and ninth took him to one over at the turn.

A birdie at the 11th moved him to within striking distance of the leaders but the two-time major champion bogeyed the 13th after finding the water.

The former world number one rolled in a birdie at the 14th, then bogeyed the 15th, before registering another birdie at 16.

"I played well and I'm driving the ball as well as I've ever done," commented McIlroy after his round.

"I had so many opportunities for birdies but I'm not holing the putts that I should."