AUGUSTA, Ga. – Rory McIlroy sputtered at the beginning, caught momentum in the middle and sputtered again down the stretch on Thursday in the first round of the Masters.
In the end, McIlroy collected four birdies, four bogeys and an eagle to shoot 70 and end the day tied for ninth place. He’s four behind leader Jordan Spieth.
McIlroy, in search of the final piece of the career Grand Slam this week, was cruising around at 1 under after 12 holes but dropped a 17-foot eagle putt on the par-5 13th to quickly jump toward the top of the leaderboard. Mere seconds before that, Jason Day made triple-bogey 6 on the par-3 16th to plummet down the leaderboard.
With pep in his step, McIlroy birdied the par-5 15th hole to get within 2 shots of the Spieth, but then promptly bogeyed two of the final three holes to shoot 70 thanks to a three-putt on the 16th and a weak approach shot into the 18th green which resulted in a fried-egg lie in the bunker.
“You just have to be really decisive out there and trust your club, trust your swing and go with it and luckily it worked out OK for me,” McIlroy said. “But I’m happy with how I played, happy with the score at the end.
“It could have been a couple better, but at the end of the day, being here on a tough day in the top 10 and still within touching distance of Jordan, I’m pretty pleased with that.”