Rory McIlroy has no intention of curbing his enthusiasm this weekend as he bids for a maiden US PGA Tour title.
The 19-year-old from Northern Ireland, two months on from landing his first professional crown at the Dubai Desert Classic, will start today’s third round of the WGC-CA Championship at Doral within striking distance of becoming the youngest winner in US Tour history, three shots behind overnight leader Phil Mickelson.
If successful come Sunday night, McIlroy’s achievement will eclipse that of Johnny McDermott, whose 1911 US Open win at 19 years, 10 months and 14 days would be beaten by two days.
McIlroy carded a six-under round of 66 yesterday, the highlight coming on his penultimate hole, the par-five eighth, with an eagle three after sending in a 266-yard three wood second shot to seven feet.
Asked if he could see an end to his current run of form in the United States, which has seen him reach the WGC-Accenture Match Play quarter-finals and a tie for 13th place at last week’s Honda Classic, McIlroy replied: “Not really.
“I’ve been playing well, and it’s a golf course that suits my eye and is my type of golf course – hit it long and hit it high. The greens are pretty firm.
“It’s been a great few weeks and obviously it’s another good week this week - going into the weekend with a good mind-set and hopefully picking up another really good finish.”
Nor will McIlroy moderate his aggressive approach to the game.
“Not at all,” he said. “It’s the way I play. It’s the way I enjoy playing.
“If you don’t enjoy playing golf, then you shouldn’t really be here.
“I get a kick out of it when I’m trying to go for greens and trying to go for pins over water.”
Mickelson, the youngest winner since 1970 when he took the 1991 Northern Telecom Open title at 20 years, six months and 25 days, is proving to be in mercurial form this week and is in ebullient mood for the weekend and next month’s Masters after a 66 took him into the halfway lead at 13 under par.
“I can’t be any more excited,” Mickelson said.
“As well as I’m driving it, to be hitting it as high and as far as I’m hitting it, with my short game being as good as it’s ever been, I can’t wait for Augusta to get here.”
Fellow American Nick Watney lies two shots back on 11 under following a 67 with Kenny Perry, who shot a 64, and McIlroy at 10 under in a tie for third place.