sport

McIlroy happy with opening 71

Rory McIlroy was happy with a round of 71 in what he described as a difficult opening day of the Masters at Augusta.

The Northern Irishman twice got to two under par but three-putted the short 12th as well as the closing hole to finish the day three behind leader Bill Haas.

"The golf course was set up very difficult for a Thursday," he said. "Some of the pin placements were where you'd expect them on the weekend.

"So to shoot under par today was a good effort. It got a little windier and was swirling all over the place. You've seen a lot of guys struggle on 12 because it feels into and down. But you have to be really patient."

McIlroy started as one of the pre-tournament favourites but believes he still has a lot to learn about the famous course.

"I feel better prepared than I ever have been and I think I'll feel that every year I come back because experience means so much on this golf course," he added.

"I think I did a good job today in putting the ball in the right places - you can start going for some of these pins and rack up some big numbers."