McIlroy boosted by Portrush round

RORY McIlroy says a round on the familiar fairways of Royal Portrush was the springboard to his dramatic win at the Quail Hollow Championship last week.

McIlroy said he needed a break after missing the cut at the Masters but a few days at home in Northern Ireland restored his morale.

His week included a confidence-boosting round of 67 at Royal Portrush.

"I thought if I can shoot 67 around there in a pretty good breeze then I can shoot it anywhere," said McIlroy.

The Northern Irishman, who turned 21 last week, added: "I got home and took a few days off.

"I just said to myself 'Look, there's no point in feeling sorry for yourself here. You're not playing great you need to go and work.

"So last week all I concentrated on was playing with my buddies, playing with anyone, but just trying to go out there and shoot a score."

McIlroy's astonishing weekend rounds of 66 and 62 earned him a four-shot victory over Masters champion Phil Mickelson and the Holywood man picked up a cheque of 770,000 for his first PGA Tour triumph.

McIlroy's final-round course record at Quail Hollow meant that he became the youngest winner on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods in 1996.

Compatriot and close friend Graeme McDowell said: "I've always believed he was a superstar ready to happen.

"It doesn't surprise me - he's that good. Watching him play the 18th was pretty emotional for me - it gave me goosebumps when he holed that putt."