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Sports News

McIlroy needs record comeback to win Masters after poor start

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy will need a record comeback to win the Masters after falling 10 strokes off the first-round lead on Friday.

Golf - The Masters - Augusta National Golf Club - Augusta, Georgia, U.S. - November 13, 2020 Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts after hitting his approach to the 11th hole during the second round REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Four-times major winner McIlroy looked completely out-of-sorts in posting a three-over-par 75 in ideal conditions for low scoring at Augusta National.

Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey and Dylan Frittelli led on 65 when the weather-delayed round was completed on Friday morning.

That was bad news for McIlroy at a tournament where nobody has won from more than seven shots down after 18 holes.

Tiger Woods (2005) and Nick Faldo (1990) share that comeback record.

Craig Stadler, meanwhile, has the highest opening score by a winner, a 75 in 1982.

Stadler, however, was only six strokes from the lead on that occasion, and even shared the lead after 36 holes.

McIlroy was even par after nine holes overnight, and went backwards quickly on the resumption.

He had four bogeys and a birdie on the back nine, perhaps no shot worse than at the 170-yard par-three 16th, where he pulled his tee shot so far left that the ball never had a chance of finding dry land, landing near the middle of the pond.

The good news for McIlroy was that he had little time to dwell on his poor start, as he began his second round only minutes after completing the first.

This is the sixth chance McIlroy has had to complete the career grand slam of all four modern majors, but a Green Jacket has remained elusive for the Northern Irishman.

Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Toby Davis

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