McIlroy solid but not spectacular

European Tour

Rory McIlroy may not have set the world alight with his opening 71 at the Masters on Thursday, but was happy with the round all the same.

The World No 1, chasing a career Grand Slam at the age of 25 after earlier victories at the Open Championship, US Open and PGA Championship, mixed two bogeys with three birdies in his 1-under-par effort.

It wasn’t the best of totals on a day when low scores were definitely on offer, but McIlroy seemed happy to just get the round out of the way.

“It was nice to get out there and finally play,” McIlroy told ESPN. “I felt like it was a solid start. Anything under par today is a decent score.”

McIlroy’s driver didn’t let him down, but his iron play did. He frequently got himself into great positions, but could only hit 12 of 18 greens in regulation.

“If I can drive the ball like I did today and maybe just hit a few iron shots closer, I should be right there,” the Northern Irishman added.

“It feels good, it’s nice to get on with the tournament. It was a long time coming. As I said, I’m glad to get started and pretty satisfied with the first day.”

McIlroy also started with a 71 last year, and followed it up with a 77 to spoil his chances. He’ll be hoping for a lot better on Friday.

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