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McIlroy chomping at the bit to defend PGA Boston title

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland practices ahead of the Dell Technologies Championship, in Norton, Massachusetts, on August 31, 2017 © GETTY/AFP / Andrew Redington

NORTON, United States, Sep 1 – Reigning FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy believes his strong record at Boston will prove invaluable as he seeks to defend his Dell Technologies Championship crown Friday on the second leg of the PGA Tour playoffs.

The battle for golf supremacy is down to the top 100 golfers and McIlroy is up for the challenge at the par-71, 7,342-yard course located about 40 kilometres (25 miles) southwest of Boston, Massachusetts.

“I’m a big believer that it is a little bit horses for courses like you hear, and Boston is definitely a track that sets up well for me,” McIlroy said.

“I’ve been lucky enough to win at a couple of courses multiple times in my PGA Tour career, and I think just mentally you’re just a lot more comfortable.

“You’ve hit great shots on that golf course before, you’ve shot low scores, and you’ve seen birdies out there.

“That’s the thing — once you know you can make birdies on a golf course, it makes it easier to do that again.”

Dustin Johnson of the US practices ahead of the Dell Technologies Championship, in Norton, Massachusetts, on August 31, 2017 © GETTY/AFP / Andrew Redington

Do it again indeed. The Northern Irishman won at this course in 2016 and 2012, joining Fijian-Indian Vijay Singh as the only golfers to win this event more than once. Singh won in 2008 and 2004.

World number one Dustin Johnson moved to the top of the playoff standings with a win last week over Texan Jordan Spieth.

“Winning last week is big, because I’m probably guaranteed to be in the top five going into Atlanta, which is where you want to be,” Johnson said. “Because you win the tournament, you win the FedExCup championship and that’s the biggest thing for me.”

The top 70 players on the playoff points list after this event advance to the BMW Championship, set for September 14-17 at Conway Farms Golf Club in Illinois.

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Then the top 30 players following the BMW Championship will qualify for the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, beginning September 21. A points reset will take place prior to the Tour Championship, giving all players in the field a mathematical opportunity to win the Tour title.

As Johnson alluded to, the top-five players control their own destiny and would claim the playoff bragging rights with a victory at East Lake.

Four players, comprising J.B. Holmes, Scott Piercy, Brandt Snedeker and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, are skipping this event because of injury. Piercy and Snedeker are out for the rest of the year and Stenson, who has been red-hot lately, has a sore knee.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Aussie Adam Scott chose not to play last week at The Northern Trust but are back in action this week.

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