Rory McIlroy fully justified his status as favourite for the Masters with a final-round 65 at the Houston Open in his last tournament round before Augusta.

After three days when it looked as if he was just trying to work off some competitive rust after a three-week break, and conserve mental energy ahead of the first major, McIlroy put it together with a majestic display.

Starting off in 37th place and with no pressure, he was able to freewheel. But seeing a few putts go in to rocket into the top 10 will do the 24-year-old no harm as he looks to improve on his curious Masters record of no top 10 finishes from five starts.

‘I couldn’t have asked for anything better than this with regard to Augusta,’ said McIlroy.

Another happy camper was Lee Westwood, despite a bogey at the difficult 18th. The 40-year-old Englishman, looking to end a long run of average form, signed off for Augusta with a 69.

Both players were on board a two-hour flight to Augusta by the time Australian Matt Jones claimed victory at the first extra hole over American Matt Kuchar, with Sergio Garcia third.

Meanwhile, in California, England’s remarkable Charley Hull, 18, began her final round of the first women’s major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, just two shots off the lead held by Americans Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson.

After a marvellous 66 on Saturday, Hull was bidding to become the youngest winner of a major since Tom Morris Jnr won The Open in 1868. Veteran Scot Catriona Matthew began four behind.– Daily Mail