Rory McIlroy took one more significant step towards a charge for the Green Jacket with a solid round of one-under 71 on Friday at the 82nd Masters.
The Northern Irishman said his priority for today was to “tip toe” along and he did just that, with a mix of three bogeys and five birdies to set himself up nicely for a shot at the weekend.
McIlroy, who said he was still doing rehab exercises given to him in October, is hoping to join greats such as Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as a winner of golf’s four majors.
But the 28-year-old, whose worst finish in the last four years at Augusta is a tie for tenth, said a mixed bag front nine – with three bogeys and three birdies – had him slightly concerned.
“To shoot two under on the back, I have taken that on the tenth tee,” admitted McIlroy, who at five shots off the lead and in T4 is in his best position at the Masters through 36 holes since 2011.
“I feel like I left a couple out of there on 17 and 18. I could have shot something I the 60s but I’m pretty happy with how I played.
“I didn’t make a bogey after the sixth hole and I got through Amen Corner unscathed.
“The strategy around this golf course is the same and I’m in a nice position going into the weekend.”
He said conditions were tough at times, with swirling winds and fast greens throwing up a stuff test.
“It’s so tricky. The wind should be south to south west, but every hole it’s coming from a different direction. I wait until I feel where the wind should be at hit my shot. You have to trust it with these tall trees.
“Anything under par today was good.”