McIlroy (71) thinks Augusta will only get harder


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Rory McIlroy entered the Masters as the oddsmakers’ favorite. He certainly didn’t shoot his way out of the tournament in the opening round.

The two-time major champion posted a 1-under 71 to find himself just three shots off the pace going into the second round.

“For the most part, I felt like I put my ball in the positions they needed to be in and it was just one of those days it was tough to get it close to the hole,” he said. “The greens are firming up. The wind was all over the place. Anything under par today was a good score.”

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McIlroy posted four birdies against three bogeys on a course he believes will only become more difficult the next three days.

“It's about putting your ball in the right place and it becomes more of a mental challenge than anything else, just playing to your spots. It almost becomes like chess, where you're just making these moves. That hasn't been my forte in the past, but I'll learn to love it this week.”