'I'm Still Right There' - McIlroy Confident Of Masters Weekend Charge

The four-time Major winner doesn't think he has played himself out of this year's Masters

Rory McIlroy shakes hands with his caddie
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy says he is "still right there" after 36 holes at The Masters as he bids to complete the career grand slam in his eighth attempt.

The Northern Irishman has had an up-and-down two days at Augusta National but a spirited two-under-par stretch for his last six holes keeps him just about in the mix heading into the weekend.

McIlroy began the day at one-over after an opening 73 and his second successive 73, featuring three birdies, two bogeys and a double, leaves him at two-over-par and eight back of the lead as things stand.

"I still feel like I'm right there," he said. "You go out tomorrow and you play a decent front nine, and all of a sudden you're right in the thick of things. I'm in a decent position. I'd like to be a couple of shots better at least, but I'm still right there."

McIlroy, now playing in his 14th Masters, says his "maturity" helped him bounce back following a wasteful three-putt double bogey on the 11th. "It's maturity. It's experience," he said. "It's walking away 13 years in a row empty handed. So it's like, eh, it's just sort of go out and play and see what happens."

Conditions were brutally difficult on Friday at Augusta National with winds getting up to 30mph at times. McIlroy described the test as "really tough" and that hitting it to 30 feet and making pars were good results. "It's really tough. It's gusty. It's hard to commit to a number and say, okay, it's 170. It's really playing 200 or whatever it is and just committing to it because the wind's so much up and down.

"So just trying to take the ball out of the air as much as possible. But the greens are getting firm as well, so then it makes it hard to stop it on the green. So it's a tough challenge. Being okay with hitting to 30 feet and taking two putts and making pars, that's sort of the name of the game out there today."

Video: Things you didn't know about Rory McIlroy

Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x