World number one Rory McIlroy felt his game was in good shape after starting the new season with yet another near miss at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
McIlroy has finished as runner-up in the UAE in four of the last five years, with three of those second-place finishes seeing him miss out by a single shot.
That record includes his final position on Sunday, when he was narrowly edged out by Frenchman Gregory Stal, who took advantage of Martin Kaymer somehow blowing a ten-shot lead during the final round.
However, far from being disheartened by another second place, McIlroy was happy with most facets of his game, although he did admit that his putting needed a little work ahead of the Dubai Desert Classic in two weeks’ time.
He told Sky Sports: “I feel like I’m hitting the ball very, very well.
I didn’t putt as well as I’d have liked this week, but all parts of my game feel pretty good.
“I feel it’s been great because there are a couple of things to work on and hopefully that will make me perform in Dubai in a couple of weeks’ time.”
McIlroy can complete his set of major titles if he wins the Masters at Augusta in April and the Northern Irishman is 5.54 against the field to take the Green Jacket, with the field 1.15.
The 25-year-old already has four major titles to his name, having won both the Open Championship and the US Open last year to add to his US PGA Championship victory in 2012 and a first US Open success in 2011.