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Open champion McIlroy not one to rest on his laurels

(Reuters) - Rory McIlroy embellished his status as one of the game's best players with his wire-to-wire win at the British Open nine days ago, but has put that behind him as he strives to achieve further goals before the end of this year.

The Northern Irishman has made a habit of stringing together red-hot runs of form during his burgeoning career and has set his sights on clinching a maiden World Golf Championships crown at this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

"I've obviously had a bit of time to reflect after the (British) Open and everything, but just decided I wanted to move on and move forward," world number two McIlroy told reporters at Firestone Country Club on Tuesday.

"There's a lot of big tournaments left this year, a lot of golf left to play and a lot of things I still want to achieve. So I definitely wasn't going to dwell on what I'd done at Hoylake (venue for the British Open).

"I want to move on and start by playing well again this week. I've never won a World Golf Championship. I've got three majors but never won one of these, so there's a lot of stuff still to play for."

Though McIlroy has suffered a few lapses in form, most notably last year when he struggled to adapt after changing his equipment manufacturer in January and having to cope with legal distractions, he has already achieved more than most of his peers.

STIRRING RUNS

Victories at the 2011 U.S. Open and the 2012 PGA Championship gave him two major trophies to cherish by the age of 24 and he followed up on both successes with a stirring run of form.

"I always feel like winning a major is almost a springboard in a way," said the 25-year-old, who has already triumphed seven times on the PGA Tour. "Especially after the (2012) PGA (Championship) at Kiawah, I didn't want to rest on that. I'd already had a pretty good year, but I wanted to just keep going.

"I set myself a goal. I want to win the FedExCup. I want to win the Race to Dubai. I want to keep that No.1 position in the world.

"Every time you have success, you need to reassess your goals because it's only halfway, two-thirds through the season, and a lot of the goals that I set myself for the start of the year, I've achieved already."

McIlroy said he would only be ready to savor his successes once the season was over.

"You've got to keep moving forward and keep thinking about what you want to achieve from now until the end of the year," he said. "And then at the end of the year, you can really reflect on everything you've done and enjoy it.

"So it's a springboard. I feel like I've got a lot of momentum, and I can carry that through to the end of the year. Hopefully ride that and play some really good golf, and some golf similar to what you saw at Hoylake."

McIlroy is scheduled to tee off with American world number six Matt Kuchar in Thursday's opening round at Firestone, one of his favorite venues on the PGA Tour.

"This is one of the best courses we play all year," said McIlroy, who recorded successive top-10 finishes at Firestone in (2010, 2011 and 2012. "I really look forward to this week.

"All the players really enjoy it because of the atmosphere, because you're guaranteed four days of golf. It's on a great golf course and guys just enjoy coming here and playing. It's a good test."

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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