Monday, April 15, 2024

‘I’ve got my golf game back’

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Rory McIlroy leads the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai by two shots after opening with a 7-under-par 65 on the Earth Course at the Jumeirah Golf Estates on Thursday.

The Northern Irishman shot out of the gates with a birdie on the first hole and an eagle on the par-5 second. McIlroy made the turn in 5-under 31 and posted two more birdies on the back nine.

He leads by two shots over Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Joachim B. Hansen and Tapio Pulkkanen. Another shot off the pace is a group of 10 players at 4-under par that includes two-time major champion Collin Morikawa.

After scuffling through most of the summer and falling as low as 15th in the Official World Golf Ranking, McIlroy is back to No. 8 after winning his most recent start at The CJ Cup. He also finished fourth at the Olympics and at the BMW Championship, and McIlroy said he’s already looking forward to next year’s four majors with his game back in form.

“I think sometimes when you don’t play your best, I maybe don’t set my standards high enough sometimes,” he said. “They are high, but getting into contention in one major this year isn’t good enough for me. I’ve done way better than that before and I know I can again, especially with how I’m playing and feeling like I’ve got my golf game back, basically.

“So I’m excited for those four events next year, and excited about the road ahead because I really feel like I’m on the right path.”

McIlroy has a pair of wins and seven top-5s in 10 previous appearances at the Jumeirah Golf Estates.

“I think a lot of experience around this place, a lot of great memories and memories of great shots and great putts,” he said when asked what the secret to his Thursday round was. “It’s comfortable for me.”

–Field Level Media

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