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McIlroy backs himself for PGA Championship glory

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Rory McIlroy on the PGA Championship
  • Rory McIlroy confident ahead of PGA Championship at Whistling Straits
  • Northern Ireland finished tied for third at British Open despite a second round 80
  • The 21-year-old says he has learned the lessons of his "rollercoaster" experience

(CNN) -- Golf's rising star Rory McIlroy says he has learned from his "rollercoaster" experience at the British Open and is tipping himself to be a contender in the PGA Championship which starts Thursday at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

The 21-year-old is in only his third full season as a professional and with wins already on the European and PGA Tours is knocking on the door to claim his first major.

He came close to tasting that success at St. Andrews as a brilliant eight-under-par 63 on the Old Course powered the Northern Ireland star into the first round lead.

But as the winds howled over the exposed links on the second day a second round 80 left his major hopes in tatters.

But McIlroy showed his character by closing with two sub-par rounds to finish in a tie for third behind winner Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and he is hoping to build on the experience.

"I was a bit of a rollercoaster at St.Andrews," he told CNN.

I've got a lot of confidence coming in here because for the past few weeks I have been playing well
--Rory McIlroy

"But I learned a lot about myself, shooting such a good score on the first day and having a bad one of the second so it was good to come back on the weekend.

"A lot of guys could have let it get to them and I really wanted to prove a point that it was not going to get to me," he added.

McIlroy, who scored his debut win in America after a closing 62 at Quail Hollow, believes the final major of the season represents another excellent chance to post his name in the golfing hall of fame.

"I've got a lot of confidence coming in here because for the past few weeks I have been playing well and as long as I can keep this form going I have a great chance," he said.

The form omens are good, with McIlroy finishing tied third behind defending champion YE Yang in last year's PGA Championship at Hazeltine, and with world number one Tiger Woods struggling and second-ranked Phil Mickelson hit by arthritis.

McIlroy also likes the challenging 7,507 yard par-72 layout which is set to test the best.

"It's a great golf course and look so much like a links course but it does not play like one," he said.

"But if the wind gets up it will suit some of the British and Irish guys," he added.

McIlroy will also take heart from the performance of his Northern Ireland compatriot Graeme McDowell who claimed the second major of the season in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in what is turning out to be a stand out year for British golf.