McIlroy happy with response in Austin

Rory McIlroy highlighted his ability to respond and take his opportunities as crucial to his strong start to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

The Northern Irish 2015 champion closed in on the last 16 in Austin after a 3 and 2 win over South African Justin Harding on Thursday.

McIlroy has won both of his matches so far and said being able to answer his opponents’ challenges was vital.

“I think one of the big things over the last couple of days is I’ve really been happy with how I’ve responded,” he told the Golf Channel.

“If Justin hits a great shot, I hit one in straight after him. He holes a good putt, I hole a good putt.

“I feel like over the last couple of days whether it was the match against Luke List or today, I played the shot when I needed to, I held the putt when I needed to for the most part.

“I finished off the match with two birdies yesterday and I finished off the match here with two birdies again.

“Once I get myself into that position where I sort of sense a little bit of blood, I’m taking my opportunities.”

McIlroy must avoid defeat against Matt Fitzpatrick on Friday to seal progression from Group 4.

Tiger Woods, Patrick Cantlay or Brandt Snedeker will await in the last 16 if he gets through.