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McIlroy sees 'positive signs' after top-5 finish

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The more he plays, the more confident Rory McIlroy becomes.

Of course, we’ll never know whether a beefed-up early-season schedule would have changed McIlroy’s fortunes for 2013, but he’s beginning to show signs that his first victory, post-equipment change, isn’t too far away.

On Sunday in Dubai, he closed with a 5-under 67 to finish joint fifth at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship. It was his second top-6 finish in the last three weeks. He finished No. 35 in the Race to Dubai, a year after capturing the season-long title and receiving Player of the Year honors.

“It’s been good, a lot of progression, a lot of positive signs,” McIlroy told Sky Sports. “I feel like I’m hitting enough good shots and making enough birdies. It’s just about eradicating some of those sloppy shots and mistakes. When I do that, my expectations will obviously be very high.”

The former world No. 1 is in the midst of arguably his busiest stretch of the year. After playing in a OneAsia Tour event, he has teed it up at the BMW Masters, a one-day exhibition against Tiger Woods and the European Tour’s season finale. After a week off, he will play the Nov. 28-Dec. 1 Australian Open and the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, Woods’ limited-field event in California.

“I’ve learned a lot of things this year,” he said. “It’s been a learning year; it’s been a very transitional year. For the most part I’m just really happy that my game is back where I want it to be, and that’s all I really care about.”