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McIlroy opens Grand Slam bid with 1-under 71

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Rory McIlroy didn’t have his A-game Thursday at the Masters. Probably didn’t even have his B-game.

Doesn’t matter which letter you associate with his game, McIlroy still scraped it around in 1-under 71 in the opening round of his pursuit of a third consecutive major victory and the career Grand Slam.

“It could have been a round that got away for me,” McIlroy said. “It was good to get into red numbers after Day 1, and I feel with the way I’m driving the ball, if I can keep doing that and just be a little more patient with my iron play and give myself more opportunities, I’ll hope to be right there at the end of the week.”

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McIlroy, grouped with Phil Mickelson and Ryan Moore, just plodded along for most of the day and did nothing spectacular. He was 1 over after 12 holes, but made birdie on both par 5s (Nos. 13 and 15) on the back nine and closed the round under par.

“I feel like I can do better,” he said.