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Mixed emotions for Rory McIlroy after opening round at Masters

Published 08/04/2016

Rory McIlroy was four off the pace after the opening day of the Masters
Rory McIlroy was four off the pace after the opening day of the Masters

Rory McIlroy had mixed emotions after finishing the opening day of the Masters four shots behind defending champion Jordan Spieth.

An eagle on the 13th helped McIlroy reach four under par with three holes to play in tough conditions at Augusta National, only for the four-time major winner to three-putt the 16th and also bogey the last after his approach plugged in a greenside bunker.

However, the resulting 70 was still McIlroy's second best opening round in eight appearances and represented an improvement on last year, when a 71 left him seven behind Spieth.

"If someone had given me a 70 for the first day I probably would have taken it," said McIlroy, who needs to win a first green jacket to complete the career grand slam.

"The conditions were tough out there. They were tricky and it was tough to hole putts. The par threes were tough but I played the par fives the way I wanted to.

"I was a little bit disappointed with the finish and the loose shot on 18 but I just need to go out there tomorrow and try and get those two shots back as quick as I can and then stick to my game plan, which is to take advantage of the par fives. If I can do that I won't be too far away at the end of the week.

"It was one of my better starts at Augusta. I am in the top 10 (tied ninth) and as I said at the start of the week it's important to make a good start. It would have been nice to have been a couple of shots better but I think 70 in those conditions was pretty good.

"I was a little angry coming off the 18th green but if I look back on it I hit some good shots, missed some opportunities and it could have been a bit better but I need to stay patient and realise that my score was good today and I am not too far behind the guys at the top of the leaderboard."

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