Rory McIlroy targets big finish to season at WGC-HSBC Champions

Rory McIlroy has set his sights on a strong finish to the European Tour campaign ahead of his return to action at the WGC-HSBC Champions.

McIlroy, making his first appearance since featuring in Europe’s victory at Le Golf National, sits fourth in the Race to Dubai standings and trails Francesco Molinari by over 1.8 million points with four tournaments left in the season.

The Northern Irishman will also compete at the Nedbank Golf Challenge and DP World Tour Championship to try and close the gap on Molinari, with McIlroy looking to keep his hopes alive of challenging for a third Race to Dubai title.

“I’m in a much better place this year than I was this time last year in terms of injury, and I’ve played very consistent golf,” McIlroy told a pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday.

“Maybe haven’t quite had the wins I’ve wanted but I have three tournaments this year to try to add to that, so I’m excited for this week and the next few weeks as well.

“I feel like I need one win, maybe two, out of the next three to have any sort of a chance [of winning the Race to Dubai]. I need to play some very, very good golf over these next few weeks to at least have a chance.

“If I can go to Dubai [DP World Tour Championship] with a mathematical chance of winning, you know, you never know what can happen. I’m still open to it, but I know it’s a long shot.”

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McIlroy arrives in Shanghai fifth in the world rankings, with Brooks Koepka the new world No 1 after leapfrogging Dustin Johnson and defending champion Justin Rose with CJ Cup victory.

Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Justin Thomas have all had spells top of the rankings since McIlroy was last world No 1 in September 2015, with the Northern Irishman hopeful of one day returning to pole position.

“It’s obviously a great accolade and a great honour to be world No 1 and I’d love to get back there one day,” McIlroy added.

“It’s not a goal, because there’s other goals that you want to attain and achieve, and if you do those then that No 1 ranking is just a by-product of all those other goals that you achieved.

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“I don’t have any real desire for that. I obviously want to get back to No. 1, but it’s about winning golf tournaments and playing well and playing consistent golf.”

Watch the WGC-HSBC Champions throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 3am on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event.

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