Charging McIlroy shuts out grand slam thoughts

Fri Apr 8, 2016 7:14pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy used a fast start and a strong finish to charge into contention for the Masters on Friday, but was doing his best to shut out any thoughts of completing a career grand slam of the majors.

Should the world number three, standing just one behind leader Jordan Spieth, triumph on Sunday, he would become only the sixth man to win all four of golf's blue riband events, joining Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen.

"Look, I'm really trying to block that out," four-times major champion McIlroy said of his bid to join one of the sport's most exclusive lists. "It's another golf tournament I'm trying to win.

"I'm trying to beat guys on this leaderboard that I've beaten before, so I need to take confidence from that and know that I've been in this position before.

"Maybe not on this golf course, but I've been in this position before in big tournaments and been able to get the job done. So that's the way I need to approach it."

McIlroy came agonizingly close to winning the coveted Green Jacket in 2011 when he led by one stroke with nine holes to play before snap-hooking his drive out-of-bounds at the 10th hole to run up a triple bogey.

He went on to shoot an eight-over 80 as he tumbled back into a tie for 15th.

"I know it's a very big weekend for me," said McIlroy, who birdied two of his first three holes on Friday before double-bogeying the fourth and dropping another shot at the fifth.   Continued...

Apr 8, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the 2nd hole during the second round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports