Rory McIlroy books PGA Maui showdown

Rory McIlroy will play in the final group at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii alongside 54-hole leader Gary Woodland

06-Jan-2019 By Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press
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Rory McIlroy says blowing several chances to win while playing in final groups last year is his motivation to get the job done at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

The four-time major winner booked his spot in Sunday's final pairing at the winners-only event on Maui, courtesy of a five-under-par 68 on day three.

It gave the Northern Irishman a 14-under total and he sits three shots back of 54-hole leader Gary Woodland (68), while Australia's Marc Leishman (68) is outright third at 13 under.

McIlroy played in six final groups in 2018 across the US PGA and European tours, including at the Masters in April and alongside eventual winner Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship.

But McIlroy did not win any of them.

The former world No.1's only victory last year came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he started Sunday back of the lead.

"I played in six final groups last year so to not win one of them was pretty disappointing," McIlroy said.

"Playing in final groups last year I just pushed a little too much too early.

"I tried to really force myself when I didn't need to because a lot can happen in 18 holes."

McIlroy has backed himself to reel in Woodland at Kapalua using his prodigious power with the driver.

But Woodland is equally as long from the tee and the pair are set for a showdown with the 7,500-yard Plantation course offering plenty of birdie opportunities.

"I don't enter tournaments just to show up," McIlroy said.

"I enter them to win and I worked pretty hard over the last few weeks trying to get ready for this event ."


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