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McIlroy (67) continues chase of world No. 1 with strong finish at BMW PGA

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VIRGINIA WATER, England – After completing his FedExCup-winning season at East Lake and adding his third Player of the Year Award to his resume, Rory McIlroy’s season was far from over.

Like many Europeans, the Northern Irishman had to turn his attention to the European Tour and the remaining Race to Dubai, but McIlroy eyed a different goal. After ending 2018 ranked eighth in the world, he set his sights on regaining the top spot in the ranking.

“There are always goals, they just need to be reset,” McIlroy said. “I don’t know if it’s a realistic target to get to No. 1, but I can get closer.”

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McIlroy took a small step in that direction on Sunday at the BMW PGA Championship with a closing 67 that lifted him into a tie for ninth following a poor start to the week.

He will have plenty of chances to close on current world No. 1 Brooks Koepka in the ranking with starts planned at next week’s Dunhill Links Championship followed by the ZoZo Championship next month in Japan and the WGC-HSBC Champions in China before finishing the year at the European Tour’s finale in Dubai.

“If someone had of told me I'd have a chance of finishing in the top-10, I would have taken it [after starting the week with a 76],” McIlroy said. “To play like this over the weekend, even to just grind it out and be here for the weekend and make the most of opportunity, proud of myself just how I hung in there.”