Connect with us


Grand Slam quest: Rory McIlroy staying positive, in contention at Masters after first-round 71



Grand Slam quest: Rory McIlroy staying positive, in contention at Masters after first-round 71

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Generally it is advisable catch a break or two to win a significant.

Rory McIlroy received one on Thursday when his tee shot hit a tree on the ninth gap at Augusta Nationwide and kicked out into the center of fairway, giving him a workable second shot. McIlroy saved par and used that momentum to shoot 71, his first sub-par opening spherical on the Masters since 2018.

All of which got here as a shock to the world’s No. 2 participant.

“Is it? That’s type of embarrassing whether it is,” McIlroy mentioned. “I saved it collectively as we speak. I caught to my sport plan. Didn’t birdie two of the par 5s on the again, which was slightly disappointing. However getting in in pink numbers was first rate.”

In so doing, the 34-year-old McIlroy left himself in competition to finish the profession Grand Slam that has eluded him for practically a decade.

There’s loads of work to do.

McIlroy trails Bryson DeChambeau by six photographs and taking part in accomplice and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler by 5, however he’s staying optimistic and a strong again 9 in windy situations instructed McIlroy may need an opportunity to compete for a inexperienced jacket.

That will be a welcome change for McIlroy, who has been no greater than tied for thirty first after the primary spherical over the previous 5 Masters.

The massive deficits have pressured the Northern Irishman to press at occasions, which hasn’t all the time labored out effectively. He missed the lower in 2020 and 2022 after second rounds of 74 and 77.

So, sure, he’ll take 1 beneath.

“There’s a protracted strategy to go, and to not panic,” McIlroy mentioned. “Everybody goes to make bogeys this week, and it’s only a matter of once you do, resetting and sticking to your sport plan.”

McIlroy’s pleasant tree carom on No. 9 wasn’t his solely little bit of luck.

He additionally discovered the bushes on the par-4 seventh gap, however the ball ended up in a spot that gave him a transparent second shot. He made par.

“You type of must experience your luck slightly bit right here and there, however hopefully I don’t must get any fortunate bounces from right here on out,” McIlroy mentioned. “Hopefully I can simply hold hitting fairways.”

The 34-year-old McIlroy has spent practically the previous decade trying to find a strategy to be a part of Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Participant and Tiger Woods as the one gamers to finish the trendy Grand Slam.

Six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus believes McIlroy is “too gifted” to not win a inexperienced jacket and full the slam.

However then once more, Nicklaus pointed there have been nice gamers who by no means gained all 4 majors, for no matter cause.

“I imply, was Tom Watson adequate to win the Grand Slam? Completely,” Nicklaus mentioned. “Was Arnold Palmer adequate to win the Grand Slam? Completely. Is Rory McIlroy adequate to win the Grand Slam, completely, however they’ve to do it, they usually all know that.”

Nicklaus believes the extra time passes, the tougher it will likely be for McIlroy to finish the duty given the stress concerned.

“As he will get older, it will get harder as a result of swiftly it’s a dialog and the speak,” Nicklaus mentioned.

For now, McIlroy simply desires to put up a great quantity on Friday and hold smiling and never deal with what scores different gamers are capturing.

He’s been listening to an audio ebook known as “Outwitting the Satan” by Napoleon Hill main as much as the event.

When requested the way you outwit the satan, McIlroy smiled and mentioned, “positivity.”


AP golf:

Click to comment

Leave a Reply