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Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 18:25 UK

McIlroy enjoying rookie pro year

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy will be among the later starters on Thursday

Rory McIlroy said his rookie year as a professional had been a "learning experience" before he prepared to play in the French Open on Thursday.

"I have really enjoyed myself and while it has been a bit up and down, I feel like I am hitting the ball pretty well.

"It would be nice to have a good second half of the season and I have set myself the goal of playing in the event at Valderrama at the end of the year.

"A top-60 Order of Merit finish would be a good way to start my career."

"I would also like to get into the world's top 100 in order to get an invitation to the USPGA tournament and hopefully both those goals are still achievable," he added.

McIlroy said he was quite pleased with his form so far this season.

"I played well at the Irish Open and have had a couple of quite steady finishes but haven't been able to be in contention on the final day and that is what I'm really looking to do."

The Holywood player is impressed with the National Golf Club in Paris but expects a tough test this week.

"It is like a links course really, running firm and fast, and the greens are fast too.

"It is a very challenging course and I can see why the scores are never too low at this tournament."

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