USPGA: Rory McIlroy takes positives from strong finish at Bethpage

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland  plays a shot from the eighth tee during the PGA Championship
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot from the eighth tee during the PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy was proud of his performance after ending the US PGA Championship on a positive note at Bethpage.

McIlroy was heading for an early exit after dropping five shots in the first three holes of his second round to slump to seven over par, but fought back to make the cut with a shot to spare.

The 30-year-old then carded back-to-back rounds of 69 over the weekend to close in on a top-10 finish.

“I just need to play the first 27 holes better,” McIlroy said.

“I played the last 45 in six under par, which was good on a tough course on a tough weekend.

“It’s really tough out there today, but I tried to the very end.

“I could have let my head go down in the middle of that second round and be home in Florida right now, but I wanted to be here for the weekend and I’m glad I could make the most of the opportunity I had to play the extra couple of days.

“Today it’s so tough out there, I’ve moved up the leaderboard quite a lot, and my goal at the start of the day was to get into the top 10.

“It’s a 72-hole golf tournament and you’ve got to try till the very end and I did that this week.

“You know, it wasn’t good enough to be up there in contention, but I made improvements each and every day, which is a good thing.”

McIlroy will take a week off before playing the Memorial Tournament and Canadian Open before the third major of the year, the US Open at Pebble Beach.

“The last time I played Pebble in a US Open (in 2010), I played with Tom Watson the first two rounds, so that was pretty cool,” the four-time major winner added.

“I’m looking forward to that run of golf. My record in the US Open hasn’t been very good the last few years (three straight missed cuts), so I wanted to mix it up a little bit.

“I’m looking forward to that run of golf and looking forward to getting my game sharp and in good shape for that major.”