GOLF NEWS - Former world No 1 Rory McIlroy is hoping to build on recent near-misses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai as he steps up his Masters preparation on Thursday at the PGA Tour's Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
The Northern Irish star has enjoyed a solid start to the year, finishing in a tie for third at the Abu Dhabi Championship last month before a second place at the Dubai Desert Classic.
McIlroy, who returned to the top 10 last month after failing to win an event last year for the first time in nearly a decade, said he had taken positives from recent results.
His runner-up spot in Dubai came after he blew a two-shot lead down the stretch to give China's Li Haotong the biggest win of his career.
However McIlroy said simply being in position to win had been encouraging.
"I had two chances to win golf tournaments and I didn't," McIlroy said of his performances in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
"But great building blocks. I don't want to dwell on them too much – I take them for what they are, which are good performances in a couple of pretty solid golf tournaments.