'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
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5