McIlroy remains in Masters contention | Rory: ‘I’m still right in there’
Rory McIlroy looking to become just the sixth golfer and first since Tiger Woods to complete the career Grand Slam; Northern Irishman carded successive rounds of 73 at Augusta National – watch The Masters throughout the weekend exclusively live on Sky Sports Golf
By Ali Stafford at Augusta National
Last Updated: 08/04/22 10:22pm
Rory McIlroy remains in contention to complete the career Grand Slam after battling back from a back-nine blip to safely make it through to the weekend at Augusta National.
McIlroy looked in danger of missing the cut for the second year running after dropping three shots in the space of two holes from the tenth, only to register two birdies over the closing stretch to salvage a second successive 73.
“I do enjoy the challenge, this is what major championship golf is all about,” McIlroy said. “It’s not easy, and it’s not supposed to be easy. I think the conditions look pretty similar tomorrow as well, so looking forward to that.
“Someone might get to four or five under by the end of the day, but I still feel like I’m right there. You go out tomorrow and you play a decent front nine, and all of a sudden you’re right in the thick of things. I’m in a decent position. I’d like to be a couple of shots better at least, but I’m still right there.”
Starting the day six strokes off the lead, McIlroy missed a 10-foot opportunity at the first but recovered from a wayward drive at the second to pitch to close range and register a birdie.
The former world No 1 holed a 15-footer to avoid a bogey at the third, only to find trees off the fifth tee and then fail to get up and down from just short of the green to save par.
McIlroy squandered a chance from eight feet to save par at the tenth and double-bogeyed the par-four next, finding the greenside bunker with his approach and three-putting from 20 feet, which saw the 32-year-slip to four over for the tournament.
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The four-time major champion holed from five feet to pick up a shot at the par-five 13th but wasn’t able to take advantage of the par-five 15th, although responded by firing his tee shot to eight feet at the par-three next to set up a third birdie of the day.
McIlroy scrambled from the sand to save par at the last and head into the weekend on two over, with the 20-time PGA Tour crediting a change in golf ball for the way he handled the challenging conditions.
“I was playing a spinier golf ball and it just would have made things a lot more difficult,” McIlroy added. “I would have had to have played a lot more wind. Yeah, it’s actually been really beneficial over the last couple of days.
“We’ve played in so much wind this year. I played Abu Dhabi this year and it was really windy. Bay Hill got windy. The Players was obviously very windy. San Antonio was windy. I think the wind magnified some of the characteristics that that ball had.
“I’d just had enough of chipping six-irons 160 yards. I wanted to just feel like I could make full swings with a seven-iron and still hit the same shot. So that’s why I went to a lower spinning ball, and it’s helped this week.”
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