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Rory McIlroy aiming to end win drought at Honda Classic

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Rory McIlroy fired a closing 68 in last weekend's Genesis Open

Rory McIlroy believes he is close to securing a first win since September 2016 as he prepares to play in this week’s Honda Classic in Palm Beach.

McIlroy, 28, won the tournament in 2012, walked off the Florida course in 2013 and lost in a play-off in 2014.

He missed the cut in 2015 and 2016 but is “happy with where his game is at”.

“Feast or famine – that’s what my history’s been here. It’s a tough golf course and it magnifies if your game’s off just a touch,” said McIlroy.

“If you miss it by tiny margins here it can punish you quite heavily. But if you’re on it gives you opportunities to score.”

The four-time major winner’s success at the PGA National course six years ago saw him become world number one for the first time.

McIlroy walked off the course 12 months later during the defence of his title, initially telling reporters he was “in a bad place mentally” and then issuing a statement citing severe toothache as the reason for withdrawing.

He had played his first eight holes in seven over par but later admitted that was “no excuse” for quitting as he struggled to get to grips with his new equipment following his multi-million dollar deal with Nike.

The following year McIlroy looked on course to make amends in style when he opened with rounds of 63 and 66, only to card a closing 74 and eventually lose out in a play-off to Russell Henley.

So far in 2018 the Northern Irishman has tied for third, finished second, missed a cut and tied for 20th as he builds up to the first major of the year at Augusta National in April.

The world number 10 needs to win the Masters to complete the career grand slam and make it a hat-trick of European winners.

“Obviously last year Sergio (Garcia) had won a tournament beforehand, Danny Willett the year before had won a tournament, but I don’t think it’s necessary,” McIlroy told a pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday.

“To get a win under your belt going into it does make you feel a bit better but you don’t have to. I feel like that’s putting yourself under an awful lot of pressure.

“I’m close. I think positive thoughts and I’m very happy with where my game’s at. I feel like I’m just waiting for everything to sort of fit together.

“I feel like I’ve seen enough good things in my game over the past few weeks to know that it’s not far away.”

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Rory McIlroy aiming to end win drought at Honda Classic

Rory McIlroy fired a closing 68 in last weekend's Genesis Open

Rory McIlroy believes he is close to securing a first win since September 2016 as he prepares to play in this week’s Honda Classic in Palm Beach.

McIlroy, 28, won the tournament in 2012, walked off the Florida course in 2013 and lost in a play-off in 2014.

He missed the cut in 2015 and 2016 but is “happy with where his game is at”.

“Feast or famine – that’s what my history’s been here. It’s a tough golf course and it magnifies if your game’s off just a touch,” said McIlroy.

“If you miss it by tiny margins here it can punish you quite heavily. But if you’re on it gives you opportunities to score.”

The four-time major winner’s success at the PGA National course six years ago saw him become world number one for the first time.

McIlroy walked off the course 12 months later during the defence of his title, initially telling reporters he was “in a bad place mentally” and then issuing a statement citing severe toothache as the reason for withdrawing.

He had played his first eight holes in seven over par but later admitted that was “no excuse” for quitting as he struggled to get to grips with his new equipment following his multi-million dollar deal with Nike.

The following year McIlroy looked on course to make amends in style when he opened with rounds of 63 and 66, only to card a closing 74 and eventually lose out in a play-off to Russell Henley.

So far in 2018 the Northern Irishman has tied for third, finished second, missed a cut and tied for 20th as he builds up to the first major of the year at Augusta National in April.

The world number 10 needs to win the Masters to complete the career grand slam and make it a hat-trick of European winners.

“Obviously last year Sergio (Garcia) had won a tournament beforehand, Danny Willett the year before had won a tournament, but I don’t think it’s necessary,” McIlroy told a pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday.

“To get a win under your belt going into it does make you feel a bit better but you don’t have to. I feel like that’s putting yourself under an awful lot of pressure.

“I’m close. I think positive thoughts and I’m very happy with where my game’s at. I feel like I’m just waiting for everything to sort of fit together.

“I feel like I’ve seen enough good things in my game over the past few weeks to know that it’s not far away.”

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BBC Sport – Golf

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