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McIlroy upbeat for next challenge

Rory McIlroy believes he has a good chance of repeating his runaway US Open victory at the final major of the year this week.

He did enough in his sixth-placed finish in last week's world championship in Akron to show he was back in the mood to become the youngest player to win two majors since Gene Sarazen nearly 90 years ago.

After Charl Schwartzel at The Masters, then McIlroy and then Darren Clarke at Sandwich manager Andrew Chandler is on the verge of what because of his nickname has been dubbed the "Chubby Slam". The 22-year-old Northern Irishman said: "I'm playing very well, I'm hitting it nicely. As long as I can hole a few putts this week, I feel as if I'm in with a good chance."

McIlroy, whose need to up security around himself has played a part in his decision to rejoin the PGA Tour next season, felt last week in Akron that he was finally able to get back to work properly.

"It was a little bit of a whirlwind after what happened at Congressional, but it's nice to feel like you're back out there focusing on trying to win golf tournaments," he said.

"When you dream of winning big tournaments as a kid and you dream of becoming a great golfer, all you think about is the golf.

"You think about how great it is to hopefully be one of the best players in the world and you never really think of the other side of it - the attention, the spotlight.

"It's just something that I'm still getting used to, but it's a nice position to be in. I'm not complaining."

Third on his only two previous appearances in the USPGA, he added: "I love how the PGA of America set the golf course up at this event.

"I feel very comfortable in this country and playing on the types of golf courses over here. I also get a great response from the crowds - I feel the reception I get is like an American player."


From Belfast Telegraph