The Masters: 'It was the worst I could have shot' – McIlroy hopes to build on encouraging first-round outing

By Sports Desk April 08, 2022

Rory McIlroy will hope to build on an encouraging start on day two at The Masters and claimed his first-round one-over 73 was the "worst I could have shot".

The Northern Irishman headed to Augusta National searching to complete the elusive career grand slam for an eighth attempt, and sits six shots behind leader Im Sung-jae after the opening round on Thursday.

Slow starts have often been McIlroy's problems at the majors, but he felt his "negative" approach paid dividends as he opted for a more conservative route around Augusta.

Four-time major winner McIlroy was satisfied with his first outing as he looks for a first major title since the PGA Championship in 2014, and believes his one-over-par round did not do his efforts justice.

"I am encouraged with how I played. I don't really care where I am at on the leaderboard, it doesn't matter," the 32-year-old said.

"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.

"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. 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."

McIlroy, who is tied for 31st place after his three bogeys cancelled out two birdies, is set to get back in action at 15:45 BST on Friday with playing partners Brooks Koepka and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

While he had no difficulty in parring the first hole on the opening day, McIlroy believes the nerves of that initial tee shot at The Masters never fade away.

"The hour or two leading up to that first tee shot there are nerves and anxiety," he added. "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'. That is how I settle myself down."

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