He ha a lot of ground to make up and only 36 holes to do it but Rory McIlroy is bullish about his prospects going into the weekend of The Masters.
Chasing the final leg of the career grand slam, McIlroy got off to a slow start on day one, carding a one-over 73. However, he fared better on day two, redressing the balance with a 71 to lie even-par after 36 holes at Augusta National.
That’s seven shots off the lead currently shared by five players – all of them former major champions.
However, despite still having plenty of work to do to turn his Green Jacket dream into a reality, the Northern Irishman is feeling relaxed at the prospect of what’s to come over the next two days.
“I'm much happier tonight than I was last night coming off the course,” said McIlroy. “I had just bogeyed the last two holes, whereas today I was on‑under for the last four to get myself in for the weekend, thinking on the middle of the 15th fairway that I had a realistic chance of not being here.
“So to get in and be seven back, I'm pretty happy.”
Missing the cut in the first men’s major of the season for the first time since 2010 looked like a distinct possibility for the world No.4 when he hit his approach on the par-5 13th into Rae’s Creek.
However, an excellent birdie at the 16th helped him to get back into red numbers for the day and, more importantly, salvage his weekend.
“I don't feel like I'm that far away,” he added. “ To shoot under par today considering some of the breaks I got and some of the shots I hit, I'm right there.”