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SportMcIlroy's silver lining entering PGA? The driver is back

06:25  06 may  2019
06:25  06 may  2019 Source:

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McIlroy's silver lining entering PGA? The driver is back© Provided by NBC Sports Group

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rory McIlroy’s closing 73 at the Wells Fargo Championship wasn’t what he’d hoped, for but he did find a silver lining as he prepares for his next start at the PGA Championship in two weeks.

After struggling with his driver at last month’s Masters, the Northern Irishman said he was pleased with the progress he made off the tee at Quail Hollow Club, where he finished second in strokes gained: off-the-tee.

Instead he said his focus before heading to Bethpage for the year’s second major will be on his short game. Specifically, McIlroy said he wants to be more consistent with his chipping after an equipment change prior to the Masters.

Rory McIlroy is in right place mentally ahead of Wells Fargo, PGA

Rory McIlroy is in right place mentally ahead of Wells Fargo, PGA Rory McIlroy is not looking ahead to the 101st edition of the PGA Championship, which will be staged in two weeks at Bethpage Black. No, his mind is on the present. McIlroy's concerted effort to make sure his attitude is on the good side of par and that the game doesn't define him has proven to be one of his top weapons this year, one that has included so many solid runs at victory that came up just short and led to criticism that he couldn't win on Sunday.

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McIlroy ' s approach game, however, was stellar, particularly on the back nine, where he carded a five-under 31 to surge into the lead at the Wells Fargo Championship. At the end of round one he ranks first in the field in strokes-gained/approach the green as well as total strokes-gained.

Full-field scores from the Wells Fargo Championship

Wells Fargo Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“I didn't feel like I chipped the ball particularly well this week,” said McIlroy, who finished tied for eighth. “I was sort of messing around with a 64 [degree wedge] going into Augusta and so I was practicing with that a good bit and then just went back to the 60 [degree wedge] last week. I was sort of in between two wedges a little bit.”

McIlroy said he doesn’t plan to make a scouting trip to Bethpage before the PGA Championship and suggested the setup will be more forgiving than it is when the layout hosts the U.S. Open.

“I think it will be set up very similarly to the way the PGA Tour events were set up,” he said. “It's sort of fair, it's right in front of you. I think [PGA of America chief championships officer] Kerry Haigh does a really good job, so somewhere in the region of 8 to 12 under par will probably win.”

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