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Rory McIlroy believes his experience this week will help him in the Walker Cup in September. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy believes his experience this week will help him in the Walker Cup in September. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Amateur sensation McIlroy targets a top-10 finish

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Rory McIlroy, the 18-year-old from Northern Ireland, bounced back from his Friday 76 with a respectable 73 Saturday. At 4 over for the tournament, he is looking to limit his mistakes and wind up his week as high on the board as possible.

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (PA) -- Rory McIlroy is not content with being the top amateur at the Open Championship after setting his eyes on a top-10 finish.

The 18-year-old from Northern Ireland, who sat third after round one, slipped back on Friday but still did enough to wind up the top amateur at the event and guarantee himself the Silver Medal.

But the Open rookie struck a confident tone after shooting a 2-over-par 73 Saturday to lie 4 over for the championship.

"I want to play in this next year and the easiest way to do that is to finish in the top 10 this week," said McIlroy, who was the only one of the field's six amateurs to make the cut. "That's what my mindset was: going out and just trying to play my best golf.

"To be sitting at plus 4 isn't too bad," he added. "If I can go out and shoot a score like Chris DiMarco did [66 for 3 under for the tournament], it's well within my reach."

McIlroy was not entirely happy with his game and will need to cut down on the mistakes that held him back in the Carnoustie drizzle. He made a bogey at the fourth, then dropped another three shots before a birdie at the 12th and another at the 14th kickstarted his round once again.

"I struggled again around the middle part of the round. The middle five or six holes I didn't play particularly well," he admitted. "I lost my confidence a bit and was getting down on myself. But I made a birdie on 12 and that got me going again. But I got off to pretty nice start and I finished really well, 2 under for my last seven holes.

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"I'm really happy with the way I putted today. I worked on that yesterday afternoon and it was really good today," he added. "Overall, I'm happy enough and, if I can go out tomorrow and shoot something in the 60s, I'll be really happy."

Any round at a major will always teach a player plenty, and McIlroy was soaking it all up. And he knows the experience of this week will help him when he turns professional after playing in the Walker Cup in September.

"I've learned you stick to your game plan and play the shot you know you can hit, rather than trying to take on too many shots," he said. "If you do that out here, sooner or later you're going to hit one a bit wayward and you're going to get punished for it.

"You've got to hit the middle of the greens, play conservative golf, try not to be too aggressive and that comes with experience," he added. "Everyone's going to make mistakes out there, so just limiting my mistakes is pretty much what I've been trying to do this week."

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