“I’ve been catching iron shots thin” McIlroy still solving approach play puzzle

Ronan MacNamara

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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It’s not a bad problem to have when you are thinning irons to ten feet and sinking the putt for birdie but for Rory McIlroy, his approach play is a problem he simply cannot shake.

McIlroy caught his tee shot to the par-3 17th thin during the opening round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town and he was less than impressed despite getting a great result on the notoriously tricky hole.

“Yeah, it looked better than it felt, let’s put it that way. It was a little thin. I’ve been catching a few iron shots thin today. It just didn’t feel great, but it came off pretty good. Because I hit it thin, the wind didn’t affect it too much, and it went pretty straight,” said McIlroy who has been working with Butch Harmon in recent weeks.

McIlroy said last week after a disappointing top-25 at the Masters where he struggled from tee to green that he was loving the game of golf right now.

It appeared tongue and cheek but he seems determined to overcome his dip in form and is relishing the challenge.

“I think the challenge more than anything else. Don’t feel like I’m quite on top of my game. But I’m determined to sort of get on top of it. Yeah, I’m liking the challenge at the minute and liking trying to figure it out.”

McIlroy is 28th in strokes gained off the tee this week and despite hitting 7 of 14 fairways in round one he feels his driving is getting better but his iron play still needs plenty of improvement, highlighted by his ranking of 62nd in strokes gained approach in the 69 player field.

“I think just the iron play. I’m hitting the ball pretty good off the tee. Look, I see signs that the iron play is getting a little bit better, but it’s just not — playing with someone like Ludvig who is completely in control of his game at the minute, yeah, I just need to get a little bit more in control, and if I do that, then I’m going to be a bit more sure of myself and make more committed swings.

“At the minute, it’s just — it’s a process, but I’m working at it.”

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