US Open: Rory McIlroy hoping lengthy preparation will boost bid for second title
|US Open, Shinnecock Hills, New York, 14-17 June|
|Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on the BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live and Radio 5 live sports extra|
Rory McIlroy is hoping his lengthy preparation process will boost his bid for a second US Open title.
The 2011 champion rented a house near the Shinnecock Hills course immediately after sharing eighth place in the Memorial Tournament on 3 June.
Speaking before Thursday's opening round, the Northern Irishman said the local conditions remind him of home.
"I love the golf course, especially with how the conditions have been," said McIlroy.
"The wind and dryness remind me a bit of courses back home."
The four-time major winner's victory at Congressional in 2011 saw him break numerous tournament records, but his performances in the event since have been mixed. This time round he has spent more time in the area in the run up in a bid to boost his chances.
"I've spent quite a bit of time here and think I played 18 out of 19 days, before taking a day off on Saturday.
"I came straight after Memorial and played a few courses in the area. I've had a bit of fun and a good few looks at this course and I'm looking forward to getting started," he said.
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His best finish since his win is a tie for ninth in 2015 and he has missed the cut the last two years but the Northern Irishman believes he can play himself into contention.
"I have a win this year, which is great, and have got myself into contention quite a few times. I would love to do that again this week," he added.
"It's been a while since I've been in the mix in this championship. Hopefully I can put myself in position to win."
McIlroy will play alongside US pair Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson, teeing off at 13:02 BST.
Another man aiming for a second US Open title this week is Justin Rose - and he has the world number one position in his sights.
The 37-year-old knows that victory in New York would see him move to the top of the world rankings for the first time in his career.
Rose would become the fourth Englishman to become number one - after Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald - since the rankings began in 1986.
"I'm in the great position where becoming world number one would be a by-product of winning this week," Rose said.
"So I may as well just continue to focus on the winning. That's where the points are. That's where the fun is, to be honest with you.
"I couldn't think of a better scenario than to win a major and to become world number one. That has been my dream as a kid."