McIlroy feels momentum swinging his way for crack at Irish Open
RORY McIlroy rates his early-season form as "three out of 10" -- but now he's ready to justify his ranking as '3' Irish Open favourite.
The 21-year-old has two Tour titles to his credit -- the Dubai Desert Classic last year and the Quail Hollow championship this term -- and he's primed for a strong challenge at Killarney this week.
"I would split my season into two halves. The first half, three out of 10, the second half eight or nine out of 10," McIlroy said.
"The first half of the season I struggled. I had the sore back and I just wasn't really getting into any sort of momentum. Quail Hollow sort of came out of the blue a little bit. I missed the cut at The Players the week after, but since then it's been good."
McIlroy, No 8 in the world, starts the Irish Open as the top-ranked player in the tournament and, at 7/1, is the bookmakers' favourite. He is very comfortable with that position.
"It's fine. It's a nice little bit of extra pressure to have, definitely," he said.
McIlroy's game is in good shape for his bid for the Tour title he would most love to win outside of a Major. "If I was to add the Irish Open title this week it would probably be the most important win of my career to date, even though the other two were important milestones," he said.
The lush Killeen Course at Killarney is primed for a birdie blitz he predicts. "I can't see the scoring going crazy but I'd say about 16 or 18 under par would have a very good chance," he said.
Turning tipster, with himself out of the equation, McIlroy goes for Padraig Harrington as an Irish winner, and Justin Rose if there's not to be a home champion.