Rory McIlroy is bursting with confidence as he guns for major money at Valderrama this week.
The Holywood teenager, 19, tees it up in his first Volvo Masters knowing that a top-three finish will secure his place in two of next year’s Majors and the WGC-CA Championship in Miami.
And he feels that he has the game to pull it off after grabbing his fourth top ten from his last five starts in Castellon last week.
Ranked 35th in the Order of Merit, McIlroy said: “It has been a great last couple of months. I have played really nicely and I will try and keep that up.
“All I want to do is get world ranking points and move up the Order of Merit. The only thing I am thinking about is world ranking points and trying to get into the WGC event in Doral.
“I’m 81st in the world at the minute and if I am in the top 64 early next year I will get into the WGC - Match Play in Arizona as well.
“There are massive world ranking points this week. Obviously the top 30 get into the Open, the top 15 get into two of the four majors and the top 20 get into the two WGCs. So there is a lot of play for.”
After struggling during the first half of the season, McIlroy is delighted that he has started to find his feet on tour.
He said: “Confidence is the difference and the turning point was finishing second in the Omega European Masters in September.
“Thinking about it now, if I had won that event, I probably wouldn’t have played as well the last few weeks. I am more determined now to do well and try and get a win
“I am making enough birdies every week to win tournaments but I am just trying not to make stupid bogeys. And all that comes with experience.”
Padraig Harrington reckons McIlroy has done brilliantly to turn his season around after a tough start.
Harrington said: “You're always going to hit speed bumps at some stage, and the guys who are really good are the guys who can come through that.
“It would have been very easy for Rory to get lost out here on the Tour and to really, you know, go away and think that this is a tough life. But he's come back very strong at the end of it and looks like he can continue to improve and become a world‑class player of the future.”