Race to Dubai: Rory McIlroy hoping to make up ground in Shanghai

Rory McIlroy won two tournaments in September to collect the FedEx Cup
Rory McIlroy won two tournaments in September to collect the FedEx Cup

Rory McIlroy hopes to make up ground in the European Tour's Race to Dubai standings at this week's WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

McIlroy lies third behind leader Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson with four tournaments of the series remaining.

"I'm excited to be back in Shanghai. It's a place I have done well at before and my game is feeling good," he said.

"I'm coming off the back of three weeks off so there might be a little bit of rust but I'm working through that."

The Northern Irishman has won the Race to Dubai title for three of the past four years and secured the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup title by winning the Deutsche Bank Championship and Tour Championship in September.

The world number three was also successful in the Irish Open in May.

He is aiming to become only the second man, after Stenson, to win the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai in the same season, a feat the Swede achieved in 2013.

"I've a lot of ground to make up but, if I play the way I know I can, I can make up some of that ground," added the 27-year-old.

Henrik Stenson (second) and Danny Willett (first) are ahead of McIlroy in the Race to Dubai standings
Henrik Stenson (second) and Danny Willett (first) are ahead of McIlroy in the Race to Dubai standings

"There's a lot to play for with the Race to Dubai on the line and trying to creep my way back up that gradually.

"I've sort of got used to ending the season on a bit of a high in Dubai and I'd really love to have that feeling of capping off the year as best as I possibly could."

Masters champion Willett leads the Race to Dubai standings by 412,728 points from Stenson, with McIlroy a further 643,243 points behind Open champion Stenson.

This week's tournament in Shanghai is followed by the Turkish Open, the Nedbank Golf Challenge and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on successive weekends.

"Danny has had a very good year and Henrik's had a phenomenal year - I'm in there a little bit behind those guys," added McIlroy.

"There are big opportunities coming up in the next few weeks to try and emulate the success I've had in Dubai and that starts this week."

McIlroy will tee off along with former Masters champions Adam Scott and Bubba Watson in the final group to start at the 10th tee on Thursday.

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