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Happy with Masters prep, Rory McIlroy is gunning for the career grand slam

World number one Rory McIlroy turned his focus to the Masters with satisfaction after his performance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

World number one Rory McIlroy.
World number one Rory McIlroy.

RORY MCILROY MAY have ended the Arnold Palmer Invitational well off the pace but the Northern Irishman felt he made progress with the Masters looming large.

McIlroy marked his debut appearance at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge with a share of 11th position at 11 under, eight shots behind back-to-back champion Matt Every on Sunday.

The 25-year-old carded a two-under-par 70 in the final round of the PGA Tour event, having gone 70, 66 and 71 previously.

Ideally, McIlroy would have preferred to be closer to Every at the end of play, but the four-time major winner was happy with his game as he gears up a tilt at April’s Masters at Augusta.

“I feel like I got what I wanted out of the week, four good competitive rounds,” McIlroy told Sky Sports. ”I saw some progress on some of the things I was working on last week, but I still need to work on some things ahead of Augusta.

“It would have been nice to get into contention and feel what is was like to have a chance to win but I am happy with my progress and have another couple of weeks to work on some things and hopefully go to Augusta ready.”

McIlroy heads to Augusta on 9 April with a career grand slam on his mind.

The US Open, The Open Championship and PGA Championship winner is just one victory away from claiming all four majors, with the Masters remaining elusive.

Only six men boast a career grand slam – Bobby Jones (pre-Masters era), Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen.

“I am excited going there with the opportunity to achieve three in a row, the career grand slam,” McIlroy added.

“It’s a nice position to be in. I’m going to embrace it, try not to build it up too much. I know it’s a big deal but hopefully I can get my game as good as I possibly can.

“It wasn’t quite the way I wanted to finish but it gives me what I need the next couple of weeks preparing for Augusta. I definitely feel like I’ve taken some strides in the right direction.

“There’s still a few things in my game I need to tidy up and work on but what I was working on last week, I feel like I’ve made progress in that and I’ve got a couple of weeks to work on some more stuff and hopefully be ready for the start of April.”

Do you think McIlroy will win at Augusta?

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- Originally published 0845

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