AUGUSTA, Ga. – For a player with an eventful history at Augusta National, Friday at the Masters was particularly adventurous for Rory McIlroy, the pre-tournament favorite.
The Ulsterman considered playing a shot that was closer to Berckmans Road than the fourth green at the par 3 before opting to re-tee, from a patch of azaleas behind the 13th green and into a massive hole 11 shots back at the year’s first major.
“I’ve seen a lot of this golf course in the last few years,” smiled McIlroy, whose collapse at the 2011 Masters began after he hit his drive at No. 10 on Sunday between two cabins.
On Friday, McIlroy’s adventures started at the fourth when his 5-wood tee shot caught a gust of wind and sailed 30 yards past the green and into some bushes. He would double-bogey the hole.
McIlroy’s 9-iron approach at the par-5 13th hole hit a sprinkler head and bounded into the azaleas behind the green and he scrambled for what was a good bogey considering the circumstances.
“I had a couple of really bad breaks on 4 and 13,” said McIlroy, who is tied for 46th at 4 over par. “I felt like I played well coming in. I gave myself looks at birdie almost every hole. I couldn't get one to drop. Felt like I had good putts and they were either hitting the high side of the hole or low side of the hole.”
Despite his steady finish, McIlroy knew he’d put himself into a bad position in his quest to claim his first green jacket. “Eleven shots back with two rounds to play is nearly impossible,” he allowed.