Masters 2020: Rory McIlroy rues slow start at Augusta as wait for career grand slam continues

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Rory McIlroy was left on rue nine poor holes in his opening round as his attempt to complete the Grand Slam career with a Masters victory was put on hold for at least another five months.

McIlroy finished in tie for fifth place, nine shots behind runaway winner Dustin Johnson, despite posting a third sub-70 score in a row with a closing 69.

"I look back on this week and clearly understand what happened," said McIlroy.

"Maybe not on Thursdays because I felt I was playing well, but that Friday morning."

The number five in the world added: "After that I played well, I stuck there, just had to make a good score to be here for the weekend and played a really solid weekend. "

The damage was done in the first round when McIlroy, who resumed early Friday after a delayed opening day start, had four bogeys and only one birdie in his remaining nine holes carded to shoot a three-over-par 75 – his worst first round in 12 starts with Augusta.

Since 2015, the Northern Irishman has combined 28 above par in the first round of majors and 61 below in rounds two, three and four and he was all too good this week aware of the problem.

The four-time major champion went on to place rounds of 66, 67 and 69 to finish in 11 under, along with South African Dylan Frittelli – four adrift of joint runners- up Cameron Smith and Sung-Jae Im.

The 31-year-old has now finished in the top 10 in six of Augusta's last seven years, but five of them didn't really seem to win.

Birdies on the third, sixth, and eighth hollows saw McIlroy climb the scoreboard on Sunday's final lap, followed by a dropshot on the 10th on the ninth behind. another birdie on 13.

"I wasn't really thinking about trying to win the tournament (on Sunday). When I got to 11 after the eighth hole below I saw that DJ had gone down to 15 and I thought maybe there was a chance, but then the wind got up and it was just hard to birdies on those back nine.

"I am satisfied with my performance, especially during the last three rounds."

The absence of crowds added to the unique feeling of a Masters in November but in some ways it helped some players.

Or the same situation in April remains to be seen, but McIlroy plans to try to keep his more relaxed approach than if he continues his quest for a green jacket to complete a full line of majors.

Fatherhood makes McIlroy & # 39; more relaxed & # 39;

Also helping the former number one have his state of mind is his new life as a father after the birth of his first child, Poppy, in August.

"I am definitely more relaxed, certainly not so much anxiety or stress," he said of the atmosphere this week.

"I think it's been easier because I come home after playing and my attention is completely on something else, it's not really on the golf, I can sit there and playing with my daughter and not thinking about it at all.

"It's a bit more relaxed and I like this atmosphere a bit better.

"Hopefully we'll get back to normal Masters in a few months, but I'm going to try this approach."

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