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Rory McIlroy strikes dad with errant shot during disappointing Masters start

The Northern Irishman is well off the early Augusta pace.

Rory McIlroy inadvertently struck his father with an errant approach shot and visited two of Augusta’s water hazards en route to a disappointing opening-round 76 at the Masters.

McIlroy’s second shot at the seventh flew well right of the target and rebounded off his dad Gerry’s leg as the out-of-sorts world number 12 carded six bogeys during an error-strewn display.

Having started with four successive pars McIlroy dropped shots at the fifth and sixth before pulling his tee shot at the par-four seventh.

Setting up to hit an ambitious draw around the trees, McIlroy blocked his approach out to the right and struck his father on the leg as he was walking up to the green.

Asked when he realised it was his father, McIlroy said: “As soon as, I knew it was my dad when I was aiming at him, so probably 30 seconds before I hit it.

“Yeah, I don’t know. He’s seen me sign plenty of stuff over the years, so I think that’s the least of his worries.

Rory McIlroy.

“I think he just needs to go and put some ice on. Maybe I’ll autograph a bag of frozen peas for him.”

McIlroy regrouped in time for a two-putt birdie at the par-five eighth but dropped shots at three of his next five holes to slip back to five-over.

He did reclaim a shot with a birdie at the 15th but saw his birdie attempt at the closing hole slip by.

While McIlroy’s opening round leaves him with work to do to stick around for the weekend, the four-time major winner said he was “quite encouraged” with how he navigated his way through Augusta’s treacherous closing stretch.

“I mean, my goal is to play well and at least give myself a chance. I mean, honestly I’m quite encouraged with how I hit it on the way in.

“I hit some loose shots out there, but after hitting the 6-iron in the water on 13, I hit some really good shots coming in, so I’m encouraged by that.

“Going to go to the range here and work on it a little bit more, but it was just one of those days where I wasn’t very efficient with my scoring.

“I was saying to Jon [Rahm] there, like open before pars and then you’re going through that stretch and it’s like, okay, it’s just sort of if you make bogey then you’re sort of — you’re sort of fighting against momentum, but if you make a birdie then you can sort of get going, and just one of those days.

“But I hung in there, hit some good shots coming in. Could have made a couple more birdies, but it’s not as if anyone is going really low out there.”

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.