• PGA Tour

McIlroy: Bring on Open challenge

ESPN staff
July 2, 2012
Rory McIlroy feels more comfortable with his links game © PA Photos

Rory McIlroy says he is feeling positive about his links game ahead of the Open Championship, declaring himself ready to win a major in conditions that do not best suit his game.

Playing in his native Northern Ireland, McIlroy proved he can handle windy conditions on a links course when ending the Irish Open on Sunday with a bogey-free 67 to close the tournament on 11-under, which was enough for a top-10 finish.

McIlroy, playing for the final time before the Open, heads to Royal Lytham & St Annes later this month with renewed hope of claiming a major on British soil. In the past the Ulsterman has said he is not keen on tournaments where the "outcome is predicted so much by the weather," adding that "there's no point in changing your game for one week a year."

However, clearly softening his stance, McIlroy reaffirmed his belief that he can be victorious in less favourable conditions. When asked what state his links game was in, he said: "Good. I feel like my game from tee to green was very good this week and I gave myself a lot of chances. You know, I left a few shots on the greens, apart from that, I'm very happy with how the week went."

McIlroy will take two weeks off before he bids to win a second major, and he has welcomed the chance to fine-tune his game in preparation.

"There's a lot of tee shots that you have to hit left to right at Lytham," he said. "So I'll just work on the fade and make sure that's in good order. Apart from that I'll make sure the rest of the game is sharp and ready to go."

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