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My aim is to be the best in the world: McIlroy

By Peter Hutcheon

The next 12 months will be vital in the development of Rory McIlroy's career as one of the world's top golfers.

The 20-year-old from Holywood, last night voted the Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year, is setting out to establish himself as a Major contender.

He had three top 20 finishes in the Majors last year, including a top ten placing at the US Open and third place at the US PGA.

Those performances, combined with his maiden European Tour victory at the Dubai Desert Classic, helped him finish the year ranked number nine in the world.

“To be in the the top ten, the youngest since Sergio Garcia is a great honour. I don’t really think about it too much because I just want to keep getting better and better,” he said.

“At the moment there are eight better players than me in the world and hopefully by the time that I finish I can say that I held the number one spot in the world at some point in my career.

“There’s still a lot of hard work to do but hopefully I’m on the right road. Definitely a Major is a target this season. I put myself in position at the US PGA last year to win and finished third and had another top ten at the US Open.

“I had a lot of good experiences at the Majors last year and hopefully with Tiger out for a while I can seize the opportunity and take one before he gets back.”

Rory led the way on a night when a star studded audience celebrated sport here.

Congratulating all the winners Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson said: “The Belfast Telegraph is delighted to honour so many top sporting heroes at our annual awards.

“The Belfast Telegraph would also like to pay tribute to our lead sponsor Magners Irish Cider as well as Sport Northern Ireland who have been a key supporter of the awards this year and of course all our category sponsors Linwoods, Disability Needs, ONE 1918 and NI Sports Forum.”

This is the eighth year that Magners Irish Cider has partnered the Awards as title sponsor and Nicola McCleery, Head of Marketing said: “At Magners we acknowledge the Sports Awards as a very special occasion which acknowledges the outstanding sporting achievements by so many of our talented sports men and women. Magners continues to play an important role within the Northern Ireland sporting arena and we're delighted to partner the Belfast Telegraph as title sponsor and congratulate all the winners.”

Sport Northern Ireland also supported this year's awards programme and Chief Executive Eamonn McCartan said: “Sport Northern Ireland are delighted to support the Sports Awards again this year, as an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the wealth of sporting talent we have in Northern Ireland.”

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