Rory McIlroy admits he needs to improve mentally to contend
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 20/03/16 8:24pm
Rory McIlroy believes he needs to improve his mental approach despite a strong finish to a frustrating week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The four-time major champion went in to the final round 16 shots adrift of Jason Day after a disappointing week at Bay Hill, but carded two eagles and five birdies to close with an encouraging seven-under 65.
McIlroy was never in contention for a first win of the season after Friday's second-round 67 was sandwiched between two 75s, while a double-bogey at the 14th during the final round was his sixth of the week and his most ever in a PGA Tour event.
"I can't keep beating myself up mentally," McIlroy told Sky Sports. "That's something that I've done this week for hitting bad shots and making mistakes. If I can be just a bit better mentally then hopefully that'll be the key for me.
"Even today I threw in a double-bogey, which has been the story of not just my week, but my season so far. I just need to eradicate the mistakes.
"If I can get rid of those mistakes and play some of the golf that I have been playing, then there's no reason why I can't go on and content a lot of weeks this year."
McIlroy followed a long-range birdie at the second with back-to-back gains from the fourth, before chipping in to eagle the sixth and picking up another stroke at the ninth.
After reaching the turn in 30, McIlroy struggled to make further movement up the leaderboard and ran up a double-bogey at the short 14th.
However, the world No 3 recovered well to post a second eagle at the par-5 sixth before finishing his week by draining a long-range birdie from almost 60 feet.
"Bryson [DeChambeau] and myself both got off to a great start," McIlroy said. "I think we fed off one another early on and we were just trying to keep it going.
"I hit a little bit of a lull at the start of the back nine when I was really trying to push on and make a few more birdies but made up for that with my finish on the last three holes.
"It's a nice way to round off the week. I was really disappointed coming off the course yesterday after feeling like my game was in really good shape coming here.
"We've seen glimpses of that this week with a 67 which could have been a lot better on Friday and then a 65 today.
McIlroy is back in action next week when he attempts to defend his WGC Dell Match Play title, in what will be his final appearance before next month's Masters.
"It's all about Augusta," the 26-year-old added. "Next week is a bit of a weird week for my final competitive week going into Augusta, but it will be great to get some matches under my belt.
"Match play is like being in contention on a weekend from the very first hole so I think that's going to be a great thing for me to see if I can play this sort of golf under pressure when I need to.
"I am excited for next week but obviously looking ahead, I'm very excited for Augusta."