Things started well for Rory McIlroy, at least.
One of the betting favorites for the Masters, McIlroy had two birdies in his first five holes, but putting woes doomed McIlroy, leading to a 1-under 71 in Thursday's opening round at Augusta National.
McIlroy made the turn with a 1-under 35 after the first nine, but he dropped back to even par after a three-putt bogey at the par-3 12th. He was able to make that up at the par-5 13th with a two-putt birdie to get back into red numbers.
He then birdied 15, and looked to be gaining momentum headed to the final three holes. But another three-putt, this one at 18, dropped him back to his finishing 71. The putting, to sum it up, was not good.
Why Rory McIlroy is 3 back: on back 9 today, he had 20 putts & 0 one-putt greens. Back 9 Sunday in Houston: 11 putts, 5 one-putt greens.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) April 10, 2014
The good news, at least for the time being, is that McIlroy is certainly in the hunt headed into Friday. A low score Friday would put him in position to make a run on the weekend. And if his putter cooperates, McIlroy can certainly re-position himself a bit higher up on the leaderboard.
And of course, his girlfriend with the pink hair was in attendance.
ICYMI here's Caroline Wozniacki at the Masters today pic.twitter.com/cCZHutR2sg— Eye on Golf (@EyeOnGolf) April 10, 2014
McIlroy will tee off just before 2 p.m. ET Friday.