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Rory McIlroy in good shape to grab US Open prize

By Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy may have the lowest ranking of golf's 'Big Three', but the world number three will approach next week's US Open in better spirits than his rivals.

Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and McIlroy all entered last week's Memorial Tournament on the back of victories in their previous events and were expected to battle for the title at Muirfield Village.

However, only McIlroy featured at the top end of the leaderboard after a closing 68 gave him a share of fourth place on 13 under par, two shots out of the play-off between William McGirt and Jon Curran which McGirt won on the second extra hole.

McIlroy headed to Oakmont yesterday after a week in which he was first in strokes gained off the tee and seventh in driving distance at 307.1 yards.

"I'm hitting the driver great," the four-time major winner said. "I think it more comes from confidence than anything else, that I can stand on the tee box and aim right down the middle of the fairway and swing as hard as I can really.

"Off the tee I was really good this week and I feel like my putting improved a lot.

"If you look at the stats from my putting, I feel like it's been really good.

"So all things considered, it's been a decent week. Time to get ready for Oakmont."

Meanwhile, Ian Poulter has been appointed as a vice-captain for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine after a foot injury ended his chances of qualifying for the team.

European captain Darren Clarke named Thomas Bjorn, Paul Lawrie and Padraig Harrington as vice-captains last week and has now added Poulter to his backroom team.

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