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My putting will be ready for Open Championship, vows Rory McIlroy

By Gareth Hanna

Rory McIlroy carded his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday at Ballyliffin and afterwards was in upbeat mood as he turned his attention to the Open Championship.

The next time the world number eight plays a competitive round, it will be Thursday at Carnoustie and, at the end of and Irish Open campaign dogged by putting problems, he's confident he has formulated the recipe for major success during his extra practice in Donegal.

McIlroy suffered on the greens to start the week, missing into double figures of putts within 10 feet during the opening two rounds.

But a Sunday one under par 71 included four birdies and gave the Holywood man enough encouragement that he would be ready to challenge come July 19-22.

"I worked on my alignment and my set-up a little bit," he said. "My lines were getting crossed and once I started to set up a little better, I could see down my line and I started to start the ball on my intended line. Then I could read putts better and it all snowballed from there. I felt a lot better on the greens today.

"I definitely saw some encouraging signs which was great. If I can continue working on that over the next few days, hopefully I'll be ready to go for the Open.

"If I putt for four days at Carnoustie like I did today then I'd be happy."

Rory also revealed his improved performance on the greens on Sunday was aided, at least in part, by Brad Faxon, with whom he enjoyed a three-hour putting clinic back in March.

"I spoke to him last night," McIlroy laughed. "He sent me a video of my body language after all my missed putts this week so it was a good little reminder that attitude is very important out there on the greens and it seemed to help today."

Tee to green, McIlroy's four rounds on the Glashedy Links were largely exhibition stuff, with drives of 360 yards plus splitting the infamously narrow fairways.

"Overall, I feel like my game's in pretty good shape," he reflected.

"Links golf is so different to what we play week-in, week-out. It's chalk and cheese. It's a different game so it's nice to get a competitive start on a links course, especially a firm course with the weather like this, under my belt before the Open.

"Just bumping the shots in, not being able to fly the ball all the way; getting comfortable with that stuff is really important going into the Open.

"I'm not putting any pressure on myself. My record in the Open Championship is pretty good over recent years. Go out, play my game, and if I can commit 100% to what I'm doing, I'm sure I won't be far away."

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