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'I'm going back to when I was a kid': Rory McIlroy's simplified approach bearing fruit in tight Tour Championship race

Rory McIlroy is just one shot back at the midway point in the Tour Championship.
Rory McIlroy is just one shot back at the midway point in the Tour Championship.

By Kevin Palmer

Rory McIlroy put himself in prime position to challenge for the FedEx Cup and the $15m end-of-season jackpot after a sparkling end to his second round at the PGA Tour Championship, but it is Brooks Koepka who heads into the third round with a one-shot lead.

In a round that was halted by a rain delay, McIlroy held his nerve in challenging conditions to post a three under-par total of 67 that took his tournament total to 12 under par.

The Tour Championship is being played in a new scoring system that saw players starting the event with scores that reflected their standings in the FedEx Cup race and McIlroy has made up most of the deficit he started with on Justin Thomas and Koepka.

Yet he faces a battle against a familiar foe in world No.1 Koepka, who looked in ominous form as he missed a chance to eagle the 18th hole and extend his lead at the top to two strokes.

McIlroy produced a moment of magic from behind tree on the 18th, as he declared himself satisfied with his efforts in a round that include just one bogey on the opening hole.

"It was a good end to the round," McIlroy told Sky Sports. "The weather break helped me. I was over a putt on the tenth hole at even par when we stopped and it gave me a chance to re-start and set myself a new target to finish under par. It worked for me."

McIlroy went on to reveal he has changed his approach in recent weeks, as he suggested he had stripped back his short game to great effect.

"What I've done with my wedges.... I am going basically on feel. I'm going back to when I was a kid and didn't have a yardage book and didn't know how far it was.

"I'm eyeballing the flag and just going for it. I've simplified things out there over the last couple of weeks and it has really worked for me," he continued.

"It was a good round overall and it was great to finish with two birdies, especially after that drive at the 18th, when I could have been in big trouble. I could have been stuck behind that tree, but I had a nice little gap and made the most of it.

"I rode my luck at times and took advantage of it to finish with the two birdies to finish the round and I know the game is in there for me to win this. I just need to do it in the final two rounds now."


From Belfast Telegraph