McIlroy finds a spark, fires 65 in Houston

Rory McIlroy posted a 7-under 65 on Sunday to finish in seventh at the Shell Houston Open.

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HUMBLE, Texas – Rory McIlroy had bemoaned his lack of scoring after three rounds of the Shell Houston. He talked about “nothing happening.” He talked about his short game being a bit off. He talked of needing a “spark” heading to next week’s Masters.

Mission accomplished Sunday. He got what he was looking for in the form of a 7-under 65 and a tie for seventh place.

That left him talking about a different kind of vibes. Good ones.

“(This gives) me some positive vibes going into Augusta,” a smiling McIlroy said. “I can’t ask for a better way to fly to Augusta tonight. ... It’s a nice bit of confidence going into next week. I couldn’t be in a better mood.”

McIlroy’s ball-striking was strong all week. He ranked high in driving distance and proximity to the hole on approach shots. He finally got some feeling going with his putter.

“I holed the putts that I felt I should and just kept the ball in play all day,” he said.

McIlroy is a Masters betting favorite. Asked about that, he said that bookmakers generally know what they’re doing and said, “I feel I’m one of a handful of guys who will be hopefully up there next week.”

He has finished in the top 11 in eight of his last 10 starts worldwide but has had difficulty closing when in or around the lead.

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