One of the heavy favorites heading into The Masters this week, Rory McIlroy finished his opening round, birdie, birdie to card a one-under, 71.
Currently good enough for a tie for 14th.
Everyone remembers last years collapse, as McIlroy carded a final round 80, blowing a four shot lead and ultimately losing The Masters.
Of course, everyone remembers the carnage that the par-four, No. 10 produced almost year ago to the date.
“I was definitely erring more on the right side,” McIlroy said jokingly in his post round press conference. “It was nice to walk off with a 4 and move on.”
2012 seems to be a different year for the 22-year old reigning U.S. Open champion. He birdied his final two holes for a strong finish to put himself, within four shots of the lead.
He could have let the round get away from him. As he quickly was behind the eight ball, doubling the opening hole on Thursday.
McIlory scored three birdies on the front-nine, erasing his double on No. 1. An even par 36 on the back-nine, which included two bogeys and his birdie, birdie finish. Were enough to see him finish in red numbers after one round at Augusta.
“There definitely were some Sunday pin positions out there,” said McIlroy. “They set the pin positions up pretty tough probably thinking guys were going to go low because it was so soft.”
“I wanted to finish at least even par; to finished under par is a bonus,” he continued. “I felt like I had enough good shots in there to be positive going into the next three days. I just need to drive it in the fairway a bit more.”
Though many will push that McIlroy's main 'rilvary' these days is with Tiger Woods. It seemingly looks to be Lee Westwood as of late.
Westwood, the leader after round one here at The Masters. Is who McIlroy knocked out of the semi-finals early this year at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Also, beating Westwood again the following week at the Honda Classic. Where Westwood finished in a tie for fourth.
So far this week. Westwood is the leader and McIlroy is the one trying to catch him.