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I'm getting closer at Masters, McIlroy says

13 April 2015, 14:51

Augusta - Rory McIlroy's says his hopes of becoming just the sixth man to win all four major titles this week by taking the Masters were doomed by a slack front nine Friday.

The world number one went four over to the turn in the second round, four-putting from the edge of the ninth green for a dreadful double bogey six that left him shaking his head.

He then covered the relatively tougher back nine in Augusta National in a tremendous 31 for a 71 that would have given him a better shot at it over the weekend, had it not been for the front-running of eventual winner Jordan Spieth.

The 25-year-old Northern Irishman finished in style with a 66, the equal-best score of the day, and was alone in fourth, his best Masters showing in what was his seventh tournament at Augusta National.

His 276 total was six strokes worse than Spieth's winning margin, having started the day 10 adrift, and that gave McIlory more cause to regret his Friday lapse.

"I prepared really, really well for this tournament. I came in feeling good and I felt like I played OK Thursday," he said.

"I got it in in red numbers. Just the start on Friday was what really what killed me.

"Obviously going to take a lot of positives from it. If someone had told me I'd finish 12-under at the start of the week, I would have taken it and sat back and seen where I finished."

Coming into this year's first major, McIlroy said that being just 25 years old, he felt no urgency to get a Masters title under his belt this week and stand alongside Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen as the only career Grand Slammers.

And his 66 was the second best he has scored to date in the Masters after his 65 to open the 2011 tournament.

On that occasion he took a four-shot lead into the final round only to collapse down the back nine to a shattering 80 that left him tied for 15th.

Talk of a Masters jinx would be premature, but each year McIlroy does not win it, the pressure will grow on the four-time major winner.

And on top of that, he now has the emergence of a major talent four years younger than himself in Spieth, who openly states that one of his major goals is to become world number one.

Talk of a rivalry has already started.

Similar to the rest of the field at Augusta National this week, McIlroy said he was highly impressed by the talent and precocious maturity shown by Spieth.

"Coming in here, being the guy in form, as well, having won and a couple of seconds, played great at the end of last year, it's nice to get your major tally up and running at quite an early stage of your career," he said.

"Jordan is 21 and it's great to see. Great for the game. And I'm sure he'll win many more."

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