'I held it together' - everything Rory McIlroy said following opening day 71 at the Masters

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Rory McIlroy opened his 2024 Masters bid by carding a one-under-par 71

Rory McIlroy carded a one-under-par 71 as he got his latest Masters bid off to a solid start.

The 23-year-old carded four birdies and three bogeys in what was a scrappy round at times in tough conditions at Augusta National. Playing partner and world No1 Scottie Scheffler recorded a bogey-free six-under par 66 as he sitt one behind early leader Bryson DeChambeau, who shot a 65 on day one of the Masters.

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McIlroy is back out on Friday at 1.48pm local time (6.48pm BST). Here’s everything he said immediately after his opening round.

Q. How happy were you with the opening round?

McIlroy: Yeah, it was okay. I held it together well. It was a little scrappy. The conditions are tricky. Hard to fully commit to shots out there at times just because the wind is - if it's across, it feels down at one point and then into. It's hard to commit to where the wind direction is at times.

But yeah, I think after the slow start, sort of making a few birdies around the turn was good. A little wasteful coming in. I had a good chance for birdie on 15 in the middle of the fairway and didn't take that; missed a shortish one on 16 and then the bogey on 17. Probably turned a three-under into a one-under there at the end. But overall still not a bad score, and obviously a lot of golf left to play.

Q. It sounds like you think it could have been better, but your best opening round here is encouraging.

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McIlroy: Is it? That's sort of embarrassing if it is, but that's a good thing. Yeah, I guess. I kept it together. I stuck to my game plan. Didn't birdie two of the par-fives on the back, which was a little disappointing. But getting in in red numbers was decent.

Q. It looked like tricky conditions out there. How tough is that wind?

McIlroy: It is very tough. Just as I said, just to commit to hitting certain shots, and even committing to reads on greens, because some of those exposed greens the wind can affect the reads on those.

It looks like it's going to be windy again tomorrow, so depending on what time we get back out there again, I'm going to go to the range here and hit a few balls and hopefully feel a little bit more comfortable with everything when we get started again tomorrow.

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Q. Sometimes you need a break or two to win a major. It looked like on nine from the TV angle, you hit the tree and it bounced right out in the fairway; is that right?

McIlroy: It did, yeah. That was nice. It sort of happened on seven, as well. It hit the tree and I got a favourable bounce. You sort of need to ride your luck a little bit here and there, but hopefully I don't need to get any lucky bounces from here on out, and hopefully I can just keep hitting fairways.

Q. You mentioned the other day trying not to win the tournament with the first tee shot. Does that mindset apply to what happened on No. 2 (where you hooked your drive well right)?

McIlroy: Yeah, it's the second hole of the tournament. There's 70 holes left to play. It was nice to bounce back with a good 3 on the next. There's a long way to go, and not to panic or - everyone is going to make bogeys this week, and it's just a matter of when you do, resetting and sticking to your game plan.

Q. Did you see Greg Norman out there following your group?

McIlroy: I did not. Didn't see him.

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Q. Are you aware when somebody else in your group is going well?

McIlroy: Yeah, I think when they're playing with you it's hard not to notice. Scottie does such a good job of - it doesn't look like it's six-under par, and then at the end of the day it's six-under par. He's just so efficient with everything.

If you look at Scottie compared to the rest of the field, the amount of bogey-free rounds he plays and he shoots is phenomenal, and that's the secret to winning major championships and winning big-time golf tournaments is more limiting the mistakes rather than making a ton of birdies.

I made three bogeys today, which is fine out there in these conditions, but I just need to tidy it up a little bit to try to keep up with him.

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Q. When you're playing with Scottie and he plays like that, does that add pressure going into tomorrow?

McIlroy: No. You just focus on your own game. It's great to play alongside Scottie, who is the best player in the world right now, and to see how he is getting himself around the golf course.

In that way, it's a good thing. When I saw the draw, playing with Xander (Schauffele) and Scottie, two of the best players in the world, it was a nice draw, and I'm looking forward to being out there with them again tomorrow.

Q. What kind of target do you set for yourself tomorrow?

McIlroy: Depends on the conditions. It depends how the course is playing. I'm not sure right now. I'd like to think that I can shoot a better score than I did today.

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Q. You obviously play a lot of golf here. Do you still feel like you're making a new discovery about the course every time you play? And if so, what did you learn about it today?

McIlroy: Not particularly. As you said, we've played so much around this place over the years that I feel like I've been to every single place where you probably shouldn't hit it, as well. No, at this point I don't really feel like there's any surprises out there for me.

Q. Do you have a favourite condition for Augusta to play in, windy, calm, wet, dry?

McIlroy: Calm and dry and fast would probably be my favourite conditions.

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