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Golf fan believed to have unwittingly pocketed superstar Rory McIlroy’s lost ball at the Open

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Golf fan believed to have unwittingly pocketed superstar Rory McIlroy’s lost ball at the Open
STOLE IN ONE? Golf fan believed to have pocketed superstar Rory McIlroy’s lost ball at the Open — costing him up to £155k in prize money
GOLFER Rory McIlroy
STOLE IN ONE? Golf fan believed to have unwittingly pocketed superstar Rory McIlroy’s lost ball at the Open — costing him up to £155,000 in prize money
Rory was penalised for losing his ball in the closing stages of the Open after a wild shotA GOLF fan is believed to have unwittingly pocketed superstar Rory McIlroy’s lost ball at the Open, which could have cost him up to £155,000 prize money.

Rory, 28, was penalised for losing his ball in the closing stages after a wild shot, costing him a chance of catching the leaders.Seconds later the man can be seen with his hand on his pocket
But a man was filmed apparently picking up a ball from shrubs and bracken.

McIlroy went on to finish joint fourth, picking up £365,000 in prize money. Without the two-shot penalty he could have been third.

He started the last day nine shots behind leader Jordan ­Spieth — and came within four of catching him — before the 15th hole drama at Royal Birkdale, Merseyside.

The Sun’s 90-second video starts just after Rory had hooked his tee shot.

A fan who realised the golfer was striding towards him began filming on his mobile.

His footage shows another spectator — in shorts, trainers and holding a red umbrella — leaning towards thick grass. He then straightens up holding a ball and puts it in his Rory strides into view, in a yellow top, and the hunt for his missing ball begins.

The man filming can be heard whispering to a pal: “That fella just found the golf ball!” He giggles as he adds: “He’s not told him! Terrible!”

The man thought to have taken Rory’s ball blended into the crowd and slipped away.

Eventually the player admitted defeat. He had a bogey six on the hole and finished the tournament on five under par — one stroke off third place.

A fan who saw the incident said yesterday: “There was great excitement because Rory was getting into gear and a magical comeback charge for title glory was on. The mystery man’s actions have changed the course of sporting history.”

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