McIlroy in contention to complete career Grand Slam

Rory McIlroy has some work to do today if he’s going to complete the career Grand Slam this weekend.

McIlroy followed an opening 72 with 73 on Friday and is tied for 13th place with a 1-over-par 145 total. He sits five shots off the lead.

“I’m five behind at the minute, and there’s probably going to be a good few guys that finish ahead of me going into the weekend,” McIlroy said. “So, if I can put together a 67 or a 66 tomorrow, I feel like I’ll be right in there for Sunday.”

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McIlroy, No. 2 in the world, entered the Masters Tournament after recording a pair of top-10 finishes last month. He tied for seventh at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship before finishing in a tie for fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks later.

The 27-year-old Northern Irishman is looking to add a first green jacket to his other four major championships. In 2011, he won the U.S. Open in dominating fashion. In 2012, he claimed the PGA Championship. Two years later, he added a claret jug to his collection when he went wire to wire to defeat Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia in the British Open. Also in 2014, he added another PGA Championship.

McIlroy is seeking to improve upon his recent success in Augusta. The past three years, he’s posted three top-10 finishes. He was in second place at the halfway mark last year before turning in a third-round 77.

This time, McIlroy finds himself chasing the leaders after struggling with his driver. Through two rounds, he’s hit just 10 of 28 fairways, ranking last among the 93 players in accuracy off the tee at 36 percent.

McIlroy found five fairways Friday en route to a performance that featured four birdies and five bogeys. He missed a three-foot par attempt at No. 18 to close out his round.

“The wind got me with my putt, sort of the ball went up the green instead of coming back down,” McIlroy said. “So, yeah, disappointed to finish like that, but I’m still within five of the lead going into the weekend with better conditions on the way. I still feel like I’m right in this tournament.”

If McIlroy can start finding the fairway, he has the ability to go low. He’s posted a pair of 65s in competition this year. In the past six Masters, he’s recorded seven rounds in the 60s.

“Obviously, it’s easier said than done around this golf course,” he said, “but when you take advantage of the par-5s, pick up a few others, there’s something in the mid-60s, and it would be great score to go into Sunday with.”