The Masters: Rory McIlroy ‘encouraged’ despite posting one-over-par 73 on day one at Augusta | Golf News


Rory McIlroy: “I don’t really care where I am on the leaderboard, it doesn’t matter. I hit the ball well from tee to green in the most part, I am pleased with that”;watch The Masters throughout the week exclusively live on Sky Sports Golf, with bonus feeds via red button

Last Updated: 08/04/22 2:00am

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Watch how Rory McIlroy birdied the 11th hole during his opening round at Augusta National

Watch how Rory McIlroy birdied the 11th hole during his opening round at Augusta National

Rory McIlroy says he was “encouraged” by his start at The Masters despite posting a one-over-par 73 on the opening day at Augusta National.

McIlroy, chasing a career Grand Slam and first major title since the PGA Championship in 2014, is six shots behind leader Sungjae Im in Georgia in a tie for 31st place.

The 32-year-old was only able to convert two birdie opportunities, three-putting at the 14th to bag a bogey having looked primed to pick up a shot and move to two under.

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McIlroy said: “I am encouraged with how I played. I don’t really care where I am at on the leaderboard, it doesn’t matter.

“I hit the ball well from tee to green in the most part, I am pleased with that [although] I want to work on my putting.

McIlroy: Three-putt at 14 halted my momentum

“I think I hit 12 fairways and 14 greens and just didn’t really get a lot out of the round. I hit a lot of greens in the middle and made a lot of easy pars.

“I had a putt at 14 to go two under for the round with a par five to play but I three-putted that and halted any momentum I had.

McIlroy is making his eighth attempt at completing the career Grands Slam with The Masters the only major he is yet to win

McIlroy is making his eighth attempt at completing the career Grands Slam with The Masters the only major he is yet to win

“I think that’s the worst I could have shot, I felt I played really well.

“The course is in incredible shape for the amount of rain we have had so I am looking forward to dry conditions over the next three days.”

On the nervousness ahead of a Masters tournament, McIlroy added: “The hour or two leading up to that first tee shot there are nerves and anxiety.

“Once you get the first tee shot out of the way it is business as usual.

“I usually envision, ‘what’s the worst place I could hit it off the tee?’ I then think, ‘okay, I could probably make four from there’.

Willett: Masters puts smile on your face

2016 Masters champion Danny Willett carded a three-under 69 to move into a tie for third place.

The Englishman, who posted his lowest opening round at The Masters. said: “Things have been trending nicely.

“The body’s good and this place lends itself to the certain golf shots that we’ve been trying to work on and trying to hit.

Danny Willett says he used his previous rounds at Augusta to guide him round the tricky course in three-under par

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Danny Willett says he used his previous rounds at Augusta to guide him round the tricky course in three-under par

Danny Willett says he used his previous rounds at Augusta to guide him round the tricky course in three-under par

“It doesn’t mean you’re going to hit them obviously, but it’s always nice when the kinds of things you’ve been working at pay off.

“You can’t come to this place and not wake up every morning with a smile on your face. I think it’s impossible.

“It’s impossible for the players and I think it’s impossible for the 25,000 patrons who come and walk round here every day. It’s a pretty special place.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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