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Rory McIllroy in good shape to be master at Augusta

Rory McIlroy has Georgia on his mind as he embarks on the countdown to the Masters Tournament at Augusta in April. McIlroy's first visit to Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California, for the Northern Trust Open effectively fires the starting gun in his bid to achieve a career Grand Slam of Major championships.

The Holywood man made a strong start, hitting a first round 67 which left him on four under and near the top of the leaderboard.

From now until Thursday, April 8, the day the Masters tees off, McIlroy can expect plenty of questions about the prospects awaiting him in Augusta.

"I'm very positive and optimistic going back to Augusta this year, because the last few years, I've improved my performance there," said the world number three. "I've had my best finish last year, and I played the golf course pretty much the way I wanted to. Didn't get off to the greatest of starts. Had a good weekend. Played the par 5s very well.

"I stuck to the game plan and it worked out pretty well."

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