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McIlroy, Quiros Grab Round One Lead at the Masters

McIlroy, Quiros Grab Round One Lead at the Masters

 

Rory McIlory and Alvaro Quiros both shot 7-under 65’s to share the lead after round one at the Masters giving them a two shot lead over the Korean pair of YE Yang and KJ Choi at 5-under.

McIlroy went out early on Thursday and set the early pace with a masterful performance, a bogey free 65.  The young Northern Irishman had four birdies on the front side and then went to the back side where he made birdies on 11 and then in Amen Corner on 14 and 15.

It was a round that made one think McIlroy has been playing this tournament for decades and not in just his third trip thru Augusta National.  He’s now moved ahead of Phil Mickelson and is the betting favourite at (11-2).

Mickelson isn’t far behind his Ryder Cup foe as he heads to round two at (6-1) following a tame 70 to sit five off the lead.  He made just three birdies on Thursday and stated after the round he can play a lot better and that should happen over the next three days.

A 15 par round simply isn’t the way Mickelson does business and it would hardly be surprising if he goes on a birdie barrage either tomorrow or on Saturday and if he can stay in shouting distance Lefty should contend down the stretch.

Co-leader Alvaro Quiros bookended the day as he tied McIlroy on the 18th hole in the last group of the day and he now sits in at (14-1).

Quiros made just one bogey and handled Amen Corner like a grizzled vet.  Possibly even more importantly, he looked totally at ease fighting for the lead in a major championship so it shouldn’t be expected that he’ll crumble under the pressure of shooting for a green jacket.

Also at (14-1) is Tiger Woods who got off to a decent start with a 1-under 71.  He didn’t look like the dominating Tiger of old, but the solid opening round leaves him within shouting distance and could lay the groundwork for a run at the lead if he can get some putts to drop tomorrow.

From the land of long odds, Ricky Barnes sits at (40-1), but he’s again got his nose in the thick of it at a major championship after finishing 2nd at the 2009 US Open.  He shot arguably his best round of 2011 and is just three off the lead at 4-under.

 

As a kid, I might have been psycho, I guess, but I used to throw golf balls in the trees and try and somehow make par from them. I thought that was fun    - Tiger Woods

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