His Sunday struggles here a year ago have been detailed and dissected, and he famously came back to win the U.S. Open seven weeks later in a romp. And here he is again at the Masters, a shot back of leaders Couples and Jason Dufner, in position again.
“Yeah, it’s nice,” said McIlroy, whose 3-under-par 69 put him in a tie for third. “I wouldn’t say I’m in a position to win callaway razr irons yet, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow. It will definitely be nice to feel like I’m in a good position going into Sunday. “But it’s good. I feel like I’ve played solid golf the last two days, and could have been a couple shots better, like probably everyone in the field is thinking. But I’m in a nice position and I definitely would have taken it after the start yesterday.”
McIlroy opened the tournament with a double-bogey 6 on Thursday, but battled back and finished with a 71 by birdieing the final two holes.
On Friday, birdies at the second, third and seventh holes had him moving up the leaderboard, and after a bogey at the 10th, birdies at the 13th and 15th had him tied for the lead. McIlroy bogeyed the 17th, then saved par at the 18th with a nice up and down.
Now playing callaway razr x irons in his fourth Masters, McIlroy is learning his way around Augusta National.
“He’s probably the polar opposite to me,” said countryman Graeme McDowell. “If I dislike this golf course, he absolutely loves it. It’s tailor-made for the way he hits it, but I hear he’s struggling a bit off the tee this week with a draw. But if he gets driving it the way he can, it sets up a lot of chances on these fairways. So good to see him playing razr x irons well and no surprise obviously and hope he keeps it going.”
McIlroy did admit some difficulty drawing the ball as he would like, but he’s managed to hit 26 of 36 greens. And he felt better about the way he drove the ball on Friday to put himself amid an interesting leaderboard.
Dufner lost in a playoff at last year’s PGA Championship. Couples’ last victory on the PGA Tour came 10 years ago, but he did win two weeks ago on the Champions Tour.