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Published: 19:52 | 13/8/17

McIlroy eyes 2018 as US PGA Championship challenge fades

Rory McIlroy is already eyeing next season after his quest for a first major in three years effectively ended in the US PGA Championship.

Despite the 28-year-old starting the tournament as favorite and notching top-five finishes in his last two outings, he failed to build on his already impressive record at Quail Hollow.

The former world number one won his first PGA major at the prestigious competition back in 2010, before losing out to Rickie Fowler in a play-off two years later.

But the Northern-Ireland native recaptured the title in 2015 with an impressive seven-shot lead, registering a course record of 61 in round three.

McIlroy struggled this year as changes to the course hampered his search for a first major win since capturing the 2014 US PGA title at Valhalla.

The world number four shot a round of 73 and now sits 13 shots behind leader Kevin Kisner.

After a tough year which seen his play hampered through injury and a split from long-term caddie JP Fitzgerald, McIlroy said he is "Looking forward to 2018."

McIlroy added: "It's playing tough. You get off to a bad start, two over through five, and are then putting pressure on yourself to birdie the birdie holes, the seventh, eighth, 10th.

"After playing practice rounds I felt like there was a decent one out there. The way the conditions have been the last three days, I haven't seen a low score out there for me.

"I definitely haven't driven the ball well enough the last few days to give myself chances for birdies and build a score. So I just need to hit some more fairways tomorrow.

"[It was] not really frustrating because maybe if I had got myself a little bit up the leaderboard and then faltered at the end or whatever, it was just a day where I stood still."

While Jordan Spieth's chances of becoming the youngest golfer to complete a career grand slam all but disappeared.

 The 24-year-old could have surpassed Tiger Woods' record with a win at Quail Hallow, but a round of 71 left the American with a mountain to climb as he sits on three over.

"I didn't have it written in a diary from when I was young that I need to win a career grand slam as the youngest ever. That wasn't the goal," Spieth said.

"The goal was to try and win them all. The goal was to try and get on the PGA Tour and then from there see what happens. And yeah, I have a lot of opportunities.

"The PGA Championship I think is going to be the toughest for me. If we look historically back on my career, I think I will play this tournament worse than the other three majors just in the way that it's set up.

"I feel like my game truly suits the other three majors maybe more than a PGA Championship. But I believe we can play anywhere and can win anywhere. It's just a matter of having everything in sync at the right time."

Kisner did just enough to maintain top spot with two birdies and one bogey in 14 holes, with fellow American Chris Stroud a shot behind in second.

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