McIlroy cramming for the Masters
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Rory feels like his game is coming around

Rory Mcilroy reeled off two birdies at Redstone Golf Club to close out the final round of the Shell Houston Open. The world no. 2 shot a two-under 70 and four-under total, which will put him at a mediocre middle-of-the-pack finish.

Good news is he’s getting closer to feeling ready for the Masters — and he’s making putts — but he still needs to work on his course management. 

McIlroy found the water on Nos. 3, 11, 12 and 15 on Sunday.

“I made a few mistakes, hit four balls in the hazards,” said Rory. “Apart from that, it was pretty solid. I hit the ball reasonably well. I feel like my short game is sharp and I putted it pretty nice. It wasn’t too bad. Just again, if I can limit those sloppy mistakes, I’ll be fine.”

Rory added the Valero Texas Open at the eleventh hour on Friday afternoon. His caddie J.P. Fitzgerald suggested it during the second round and Rory shrugged it off at first, but then started to consider it over lunch and realized it wasn’t a bad idea to get more competitive golf under his belt before the Masters the week after next.

In retrospect, young Rory would have played another tournament earlier.

“I might have played one more in the Middle East and not taken that four-week break after Abu Dhabi,” he said. “Obviously you lose in the first round of the Match Play and you play a round and a half at the Honda, you haven’t played much golf.”

Rory has only posted 13 competitive rounds in 2013 — 13.5 if you count the eight holes he played before he walked off the course in the second round of the Honda Classic.

While TPC San Antonio doesn’t set up similar to Augusta National, it doesn’t matter to Rory.

“I’m there to play competitive golf,” he said.  “If it was a par 3 course, I would go and play it just because that’s what I need.  I need competitive golf and I need committing to targets, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a short course or long course or wide course or whatever.  As long as I have that and I have a scorecard in my hand, that’s what I need.”

McIlroy feels like he can take a lot of positives away from this week.

“I was positive about my game coming off the last round at Doral and I felt like it was coming into good shape and here it’s the same,” said Rory.  “The only thing is, I just made too many silly mistakes this week.  I hit four shots in the hazards today and ended up shooting 2-under.  You limit those mistakes a little bit and all of a sudden, it’s a 67, 66.

“You know, I can take a lot out of this week. The scores haven’t reflected how I’ve played.”

He has looked like he was swinging it decently and his putting was sharp, which are good signs. Like he said, he just needs to get rid of some of that rust and he’ll be just fine. Hopefully, four more rounds next week will do the trick.

“Course management is a big thing, you know, not short siding yourself, hitting to the fat of the greens when you need to, giving yourself a bit more margin for errors,” said Rory when asked what he’d write down as his objectives for the Valero Texas Open. “Limit mistakes like making bogeys from the middle of the fairway.  If I can just keep them off my card, then I’ll be in great shape.”

(AP Photo/Conroe Courier, Jason Fochtman)