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McIlroy ready to go in Sun City

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Rory McIlroy has not given up hope of winning a fourth Race to Dubai title as he aims for two Rolex Series victories to end his 2018 season.

The Northern Irishman tees it up at this week's Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player at eighth in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, just under two million points behind leader Francesco Molinari.

 

That means even back-to-back victories would leave McIlroy short should Molinari finish second on his own or tied with one other at next week's season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

With that in mind, McIlroy has nothing to lose over the closing fortnight of the season, and he is looking for a big week at Gary Player Country Club.

The 29 year old is yet to win on the European Tour this season but has five top fives in his 11 appearances, including second places at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, BMW PGA Championship and Open Championship. He came close at last season's BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni and is delighted to be back on African soil.

McIlroy shared, “I'm excited to be back. Got a few days to get a look at the golf course, adjust to the altitude and figure out how far the ball is going. Excited to be back and looking forward to giving it one last push here and next week in Dubai.

“My thing is I'm coming here with the goal, if I can get into that final group on Thursday with Frankie (Francesco Molinari) next week, that would be a good start. I can't look too far ahead, but if I can do what I need to do this week, leapfrog a few guys and get into that final pair on Thursday would be a huge step towards trying to.

“I'm going to need some great golf over the next two weeks, but we'll see what happens this week. I feel like my game's in pretty good shape. I didn't play great in China but a week off and just sort of reflecting on things. Hopefully I can get off to a good start this week.

“I've played good golf. I've played consistent golf. I've played in six final groups this year and I haven't had a win out of any of those final groups. I think I played in four final groups in the previous two years combined, so it's better.

Sergio Garcia, a two-time winner of this prestigious tournament in 2001 and 2003 prior to it becoming an officially sanctioned European Tour event, joins McIlroy in the star-studded field as the most successful Ryder Cup player of all-time after securing his 25th and a half point in Team Europe’s stunning victory at The 2018 Ryder Cup, with his most recent appearance at the Gary Player Country Club five years ago yielding a runner-up finish.

The 38 year old has since become a Major Champion, following his momentous victory at the 2017 Masters Tournament and is set to tee it up for the first time since he secured his third Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation title last month.

Garcia said, “It's extremely special. Every time you can be a past champion in a tournament, it's an honour and it's extremely special and to be twice here at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, it's obviously something that I'm very proud of.

“The wind is very tricky and it moves a lot throughout the round. You've just got to have one of those weeks where obviously the game is on, but you're precise with what you choose with your club section, and knowing how tight some of these pin positions are and the spots where they put them.

“Confidence is good. There's no doubt it's been a good last couple of months of the year. So hopefully, we have three tournaments left, and we can have three decent weeks, finish on a high and get ready for next year.