McIlroy 'in really good shape' after Abu Dhabi return

He finished tied-third in his first tournament since October and Rory McIlroy was "really happy" with his game in Abu Dhabi.

Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship   -  Getty Images

Rory McIlroy believes the signs are promising for the rest of the season after he finished tied-third on his return from injury at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The world number 11 has been out of action since October to recover from a rib problem but looked in good form in the United Arab Emirates as he finished four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood, who retained his title.

McIlroy shot a two-under 70 on Sunday to finish level with Matt Fitzpatrick on 18 under for the tournament, while Ross Fisher was second on 20 under.

Next up for McIlroy is the Dubai Desert Classic, starting on Thursday, and the four-time major champion is feeling positive after a satisfactory comeback.

"I'm really happy with how I played," he said. "It could have been a little bit better today.

"I was a little bit scrappy but [with] the conditions... I felt like shooting anything in the 60s would have been a good score. I didn't quite do that; I shot 70.

"Overall, I'm really happy how I played this week. My game is in really good shape and I saw some really, really positive signs. So I'm looking forward to next week in Dubai and obviously looking forward to the rest of the season.

"If I can play the same way I played this week, I'll have a good chance again next week.

"It's just a matter of dusting myself off and sort of looking back on this week, I think it's been a huge success for me, even though I didn't win today. I felt like I got a lot out of it, and yeah, I'm excited to get back at it again next week."

McIlroy also reserved words of praise for Fleetwood, who birdied six of his back nine to retain the trophy at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

"It's incredible," said McIlroy. "He had a great year last year, won the Race to Dubai, number one in Europe and then to just keep going.

"This week, defending champion, to put that round of golf together out there today, I mean, 65 in those conditions is seriously impressive. And six under [on the] back nine when he needed to.

"He's a great addition to the world of golf, a great addition to the European Tour and will be a great addition to the Ryder Cup team in September."

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