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Rory's Masters bid firmly on course

By Adam McKendry

Cool and composed Rory McIlroy goes into tonight's second round firmly in the hunt for Masters success after an impressive opening round at Augusta National yesterday.

McIlroy needs to win the Masters here to complete a career Grand Slam and he's looking in the groove.

The 28-year-old from Holywood finished last night's opening round on three under par after shooting a 69, four shots behind the early pacesetter, Jordan Spieth who was on seven under par when Rory holed out just befoe midnight.

McIlroy's round still went completely to plan bar one mistake, a bogey on the seventh hole.

He set out with legend Gary Player backing him to claim the green jacket this weekend, saying: "We need Rory to join us in the Grand Slam. I would pick Alex Noren and I would pick Rory McIlroy, if you're asking me to pick a winner this week."

McIlroy made a storming start by grabbing a birdie on the first hole but other putts failed to drop and a bogey on the seventh was swiftly followed by a birdie on the next hole.

The Holywood ace also picked up a birdie on the par five 13th hole and then the 15th to move to three under.

Sergio Garcia's title defence effectively came to an embarrassing end as he took an amazing 13 shots to play the 15th hole, finishing his opening round at the wrong end of the leaderboard on nine over par.

Former Masters champion Tiger Woods is one over par after a mixed fortune 73.

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