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McIlroy believes he can finish with a flourish after beating Woods

Rory McIlroy finally claimed his first win of the year yesterday, albeit in an 18-hole exhibition, and is now aiming for further success before the end of the season.

McIlroy beat the world No.1 Tiger Woods for the second year in succession in their lucrative exhibition at Mission Hills, carding a six-under-par 67 to win by a shot.

The 24-year-old has not tasted victory in a full tournament in 2013, a stark contrast to his five wins last year which included a second major title by eight shots in the US PGA Championship.

However, the Northern Irishman was second in the Korean Open earlier this month and believes his game is improving, partially thanks to using a new ball and driver.

"It's much better," said the Northern Irishman , who switched to Nike in January. "I've seen a lot of promising signs over the past few weeks in practice and also in competitive play. I still have four tournaments left until the end of the season and I would love to finish 2013 strongly and get a little bit of momentum going into next season.

"I think as I showed out there, I'm hitting the ball well. Tee to green, the game was very solid, and if I can just get the putter going a little bit more and get a few more putts to drop, then in these last four tournaments I can hope to contend and maybe pick up a win or two."

McIlroy will contest the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai this week and the Turkish Airlines Open, but needs to climb from 62nd on the Race to Dubai into the top 60 to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship next month.

n Colin Montgomerie tied third with Americans Fred Funk and Kirk Triplett in the AT and T Championship at San Antonio in Texas, the penultimate tournament on the US Champions' schedule. The trio shot 11-under-par 205s, two shots behind play-off winner Kenny Perry and Bernhard Langer. Montgomerie has earned $322,945 from 10 events on the US seniors' circuit this season and is 47th on the money list.

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