Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy is looking to maintain momentum and hit the ground running when he goes in search of a second U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

The Northern Irishman won the first of his four Major Championships at this event in 2011 at Congressional Country Club, starting with a 65 and going on to claim a record breaking victory that established him as one of the modern games very biggest stars.

He won the 2012 US PGA Championship after opening with a 67, while rounds of 66 set him on his way to glory at the 2014 Open Championship and US PGA.

The former World Number One has moved up to third in the Official World Golf Ranking after a win last week on the US PGA Tour, his second of the season to go with top tens at the WGC-Mexico Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and US PGA Championship.

A weekend of 64-61 saw McIlroy charge to a seven shot win on Sunday, and the 30-year-old knows momentum will be key if he is to win a first Major in five years.

"I feel like my game has been in pretty good shape all year and it was nice to validate the good work that I've been putting in with another win," he said.

"I feel like the golf that I played last week is what I'm capable of and the golf that I'll try to produce more often. You're obviously not going to go out and shoot those scores every weekend but it's nice when it happens. It was a nice way to come into this tournament.

"My first rounds at Augusta and Bethpage this year just sort of put me a little bit behind the eight ball and it's hard to catch up. Major Championships are played on the toughest courses and when you start to chase on those really tough courses, it's hard to do that.

"The Majors that I've won, I've started every single one of them really well, runs in sort of the mid-60s, and I think that's sort of what's held me back a little bit.

"If I can take that freedom that I played with on Saturday and Sunday last week and put that into tomorrow and play with that sort of freedom and get off to a good start, I'll be hopefully right in the tournament from the get-go and stay there."

If you are playing well, you don't need to settle for pars, you can go out there and get after it - Rory McIlroy

The U.S. Open is regarded by many as the toughest test in golf and while McIlroy will show Pebble Beach plenty of respect this week, he does not necessarily believe defence is the best form of attack.

"I think sometimes you can go into the U.S. Open thinking that par is a good score and par, par, par and all of a sudden you see someone is five or six under. I could see someone shooting in the sort of 65, 66 range this week. It's definitely out there.

"I think sometimes, if you are playing well, you don't need to settle for pars, you can go out there and get after it.

"That's sort of what I did at Congressional. Obviously the course was a little softer and the conditions a bit more benign but,  if you're playing well, it doesn't have to be the typical grind out your pars. If you feel like you can make birdies, go out and get after it."

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