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Rory McIlroy targets strong finish to 2019 at WGC-HSBC Champions

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Rory McIlroy believes talk of a burgeoning rivalry with Brooks Koepka is testament to his performances on the world stage in recent years.

Rory McIlroy is targeting a big finish to the golfing year ahead of his bid for a fourth victory of 2019 at the WGC-HSBC Champions.

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The world No 2 headlines a strong field in Shanghai and arrives off the back of a tied-third finish at the Zozo Championship last week, his 17th worldwide top-10 in 23 starts this campaign.

McIlroy was crowned PGA Tour Player of the Year after winning the FedExCup for a second time, with the 30-year-old looking to continue his impressive form at Sheshan International Golf Club and returning to the winner's circle.

Image: McIlroy's last World Golf Championship win came at the 2015 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

"I feel like this year went very well," McIlroy said. "I've played consistent golf and I've won a few times as well.

"I started this year maybe like 8th or 9th in the world, so it's nice to see that progress and to play so well and get myself back up to No. 2 with a chance of closing that gap.

WGC-HSBC: R1 tee times
WGC-HSBC: R1 tee times

Tee times for the opening round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

"If I play well the next few weeks, I'll have a great platform going into next year. I've achieved most things that I've wanted to this year.

"Once I end this calendar year, I'm going to take a couple months off and reset goals and assess where I'm at, then go again. Just want to finish the year off strongly because I feel the year that I've had deserves a finish like that."

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Image: McIlroy finished tied-54th at last year's event

McIlroy has posted top-10 finishes in all three World Golf Championship events this season, finishing runner-up to Dustin Johnson at the WGC-Mexico Championship, suffering a last-16 exit to Tiger Woods at the WGC-Dell-Technologies Match Play and losing out on the final day to Brooks Koepka at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

"WGCs are some of the biggest tournaments we play," McIlroy added. "To win those events, it means that you've done something very well.

Live World Golf Championships

"I played well in WGCs this year. I had a good chance to win in Mexico, finished second. Had a chance to win in Memphis, didn't quite get over the line there, Brooks (Koepka) played very well on that last day. Actually played okay on the Match Play, but ended up being beaten by Tiger (Woods).

"I've always enjoyed WGCs. I think it was a real thrill to get into those fields for the first time and then to progress and to win a couple of them and be in contention in some of them. I want to go up against the best players in the world more often and you really get a chance to do that at these events."

Live World Golf Championships

Watch the WGC-HSBC Champions throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 2am on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event.

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