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Frustrated McIlroy keen for Dubai defence

Rory McIlroy admits he is becoming increasingly frustrated by his inability to land a second professional title as he prepares for the defence of his maiden triumph at this week's Dubai Desert Classic.

The 20-year-old has finished in the top seven in seven of his last eight events, with two runner-up finishes to his name following a career-best third place finish at a major -- the USPGA Championship last August.

But while he is happy with his consistency, McIlroy is annoyed not to have converted any of his near misses into title victories.

"If you are having top 10s you've always got the chance to win," said McIlroy, who missed last week's event in Qatar after opening his season with a third place finish in Abu Dhabi.

"It's great having top fives, but if you don't have a win in there, it's not that good. That's what I'm trying to get, that's the level that I'm trying to get to."

Last year at Emirates Golf Club, a 19-year-old McIlroy held off England's Justin Rose to claim a wire-to-wire victory, despite a nervous final round, to finally land his first title 16 months after joining the professional ranks.

A year later he returns as the world number nine, with Dubai representing his last event before heading off to America after taking up a USPGA Tour card. McIlroy hopes the home comforts of Dubai and familiarity of the Emirates Golf Club course will again help push him back over the winning line.

But he has admitted the new regulations regarding grooves, which limit the amount of spin players can exert, will affect the way he tackles the Majlis course, especially the 10 driveable par-four holes.

"I've gained a lot from those experiences since the win last year, and I've put myself in great positions to win that I haven't quite finished off," McIlroy added after signing a new three-year deal with his principle sponsor, the Dubai-based Jumeirah group. "But I've learnt from those experiences and I feel as if I'm a more rounded player."


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