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McIlroy shows big improvement at Players

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Rory McIlroy has narrowed his struggles at TPC Sawgrass to just nine holes, which considering the world No. 1’s history at The Players is progress.

For the week, McIlroy played the outward loop in 1 over, compared to 7 under on the closing nine.

“Even if I could have went out in 33 or 34 a couple of times it would have made a big difference,” said McIlroy, who closed with a 70 on Sunday and was tied for eighth place when he signed his card.

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It’s similar to McIlroy’s troubles at Augusta National in recent years, but his finish is a marked improvement considering his record at the PGA Tour’s flagship event. After missing the cut in his first three starts at The Players he’s now finished in the top 10 the last three years.

It’s even more encouraging considering how poorly he putted for the week. McIlroy finished 59th in strokes gained-putting and his longest putt on Sunday was a 10 footer at the 12th hole for birdie.

“When you’re hitting the hole a lot it’s probably speed more than anything else,” McIlroy said. “I’ll try to get the speed a bit better next week [at the Wells Fargo Championship] and be a bit more aggressive on the greens and hopefully that will make a difference.”