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Rory McIlroy is ready for a bi...

Golf

Rory McIlroy is ready for a birthday celebration


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It's hard to believe that Rory McIlroy turns 30 tomorrow, but the County Down man, who was once a boy chipping golf balls into his washing machine, is hoping to mark his new decade in life with a victory.

McIlroy is tied for the lead after the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship on the US PGA Tour in North Carolina.

The Holywood star carded a second nine of 31 en route to an opening round of 66 and a share of the lead on 5 under par with American Joel Dahmen.

McIlroy has fond memories of the Quail Hollow course.  He closed with a 62 to win his first event in America in 2010, prompting announcer Jim Nantz to yell "Welcome to the big time, Rory McIlroy."

His second win in this event came in 2015, but the 'big time', while it did arrive with 4 major championships earned by 2014, has become something of a 'quiet time' for McIlroy.

The Masters is the only major that he hasn't won, and last month's performance at Augusta was out of sorts.  However, natural talent is everything in golf and McIlroy seems to have regained the type of form that led him to blitz the early part of the season, taking The Players Championship along the way.

A good showing at Quail Hollow is important ahead of the rescheduled US PGA Championship, which is held at the Bethpage Black course in New York in a fortnight's time.  Bethpage is right up McIlroy's street, as it requires long, straight driving.  There should also be no hang ups about winning the Wanamaker Trophy, as he has lifted it twice before.

It's also worth noting the opening day performance of Waterford's Seamus Power at the Wells Fargo.  A 2 under par total is reflective of solid progression by the Irish Olympian, who has registered two top six placed finishes in his last two events.  A maiden tour victory for Power may not be too far away.

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