Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.
McIlroy took an early lead with two birdies on the first three holes and held on to beat Woods, who had two bogeys to go along with his six birdies for the day in a four-under 68.
McIlroy travelled to Zhengzhou, an industrial city in China’s Henan province, after finishing second to Peter Hanson in the European Tour’s BMW Masters at Shanghai, while Woods tied for fourth behind Nick Watney in the PGA Tour’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia. McIlroy and Woods have opted not to compete in this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions at Mission Hills.
The Holywood star will travel to Bulgaria to watch his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki compete before resuming his bid for thE European Tour’s Race to Dubai in Singapore next week. McIlroy says he is thriving on the pressure of being world number one and reckons he will be “hard to beat” if he brings his “A game” to the star-studded US$6 million Barclays Singapore Open.
“The status (of being world number one) adds pressure but it’s one that I thrive on. People expect me to play well, and I expect myself to play better,” McIlroy said.
“I know that I can be hard to beat when I am at my best, so I go into every tournament knowing that if I play well then I have a good chance of winning. I will always feel that way no matter what my ranking.”
McIlroy has enjoyed an outstanding season highlighted by his runaway eight-stroke victory at the US PGA Championship and is in pole position to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai with winnings of €3,407,300. He has already sewn up the PGA Tour money list with earnings of US$8,047,952 and is looking to match the feat of Luke Donald who won the money titles on both sides of the Atlantic last season.
Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.