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Rory McIlroy goes back to happy hunting ground as he looks for a return to form

Former world number one Rory McIlroy could hardly have picked a better place than Quail Hollow as he bids to rediscover his “mojo”.

McIlroy is seeking an eighth top-10 finish in 10 appearances in the Wells Fargo Championship, an event which provided his first PGA Tour title in 2010 and another in 2015 following a course-record 61 in round three.

Yet the four-time major winner comes into the week at 15th in the world rankings, his lowest position since November 2009, and on the back of a missed cut in the Masters last month.

McIlroy, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Tuesday, told a pre-tournament press conference: “It’s always great to come back to Quail Hollow. So many great memories here.

“A first win on Tour and then winning again in ’15, being a part of a pretty exciting play-off in ’12, and basically celebrating every birthday here for the last 10 years, apart from last year because of the pandemic.

“Obviously coming back to a place that I’ve played pretty well on before. Hopefully that gives me a little bit of good mojo going into the week.”

McIlroy has added Pete Cowen to his coaching team as he seeks a first major title since 2014 and a first win of any kind since November 2019, but there were no quick fixes at Augusta National as he carded rounds of 76 and 74.

That meant the Northern Irishman suffered a first missed cut in the Masters, which he needs to win to complete the career grand slam, since 2010.

“I feel better about my game than I did flying home from Augusta on Friday night, put it that way,” he added. “I’ve worked a little bit on it, sort of just tried to understand what I do well. I guess trying to sort of focus on my strengths.

“I think I’ve neglected my strengths a little bit the past couple of months, and (am) focusing more on those and focusing on what makes me a good golfer and how I swing the club and how I move the club.

“It’s all familiar feelings. It’s all stuff that I’ve worked on before, but maybe just gotten away from a little bit by trying to focus on other things. I feel like I’m on a pretty good trajectory at the minute.”