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Rory McIlroy chasing fourth Quail Hollow victory to lay down USPGA marker

The man who got The Godfather made – by making friends with the Mob
Published Time: 12.05.2024 - 01:40:17 Modified Time: 12.05.2024 - 01:40:17

Form at Wells Fargo Championshp suggests Northern Irishman’s 10-year barren run in the majors could finally end next week Getty Images/Jared C

Form at Wells Fargo Championshp suggests Northern Irishman’s 10-year barren run in the majors could finally end next week

: Getty Images/Jared C. Tilton

Rory McIlroy is in a tantalising position here to win the fourth tournament of his career at Quail Hollow. However, the history we all know he craves to repeat most vehemently will come at the USPGA Championship next Sunday.

The last time McIlroy won a major title was the Wanamaker Trophy at Valhalla 10 years ago. Nobody, least of all the Northern Irishman, expected him to be returning to the Louisville layout a decade on, still stuck on four.

Yet as the fans – or at least social media – has roundly written off his chances of joining the likes of Seve Ballesteros on five, so he has increasingly insisted that he will not stop trying and that, in terms of form in the majors alone, he feels closer than ever to ending one of golf’s most unexpected barren spells.

And his performance so far here in Charlotte at the Wells Fargo Championship will only convince him that the scene of his most recent Big-Four glory could also be the next.

McIlroy started the third round four behind Olympic champion Xander Schauffele, but he vowed to chase down the American and did exactly that, closing within one after a 67 to reach 11-under.

There was not to be the 62 on this layout that he shot in 2010 to win his first PGA Tour title, or the 61 he compiled in 2015 to prevail here again. Yet after struggling for three months after his fine year’s start in Dubai – where he finished second and first – this bogeyless effort, the joint-best round of the day, on a drying course was composed and hugely promising in the wake of the emergency lessons he sought with legendary coach Butch Harmon before finishing tied 22nd at the last Masters.

“I’ve leaned on the driver a lot, driven the ball very, very well, which is a continuation of how I’ve felt,” he said. “It feels like it’s all coming together.”

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