McIlroy’s heavenly start ends at hellish 16th

What makes Rory McIlroy so good? He could be the definition of an old head on a young body. The latter gives him a power game with a solid technique, the former a maturity beyond his years. But it does not matter how young or experienced you are, a triple bogey at the last hole still tastes like dirt.

On the leaderboard one minute, McIlroy dropped five strokes in the last three holes, with a double bogey at the short 16th and a seven to finish. McIlroy comes across as experienced beyond his years but some experiences just have to be taken on the chin. He signed for a 73 to be one over par, on the cut line but his further participation depended on a rules investigation last night.

Not many 19-year-olds are given the high profile of a pre-tournament press conference at a major championship. Earlier this week, McIlroy said: “I realise that I have the talent, but you need to put the hard work in to be able to make the most of it. I think it’s a combination of talent and hard work.”

It took the Ryder Cup star Anthony Kim, McIlroy’s playing partner for the first two days here and a grizzled veteran at the age of 23, all through college, over a year in the professional ranks and a boot up the backside from Tiger Woods to figure that out. Kim showed what could be done with 11 birdies in a 65 and will be a contender this weekend.

McIlroy is not alone as a young phenomenon. There is the Korean Kiwi Danny Lee, who at 18 has, like McIlroy, won on the European Tour but does not turn professional until Sunday evening. Then there is the Japanese 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa, who has won twice in his homeland. No wonder the talk has been of a teenager winning the Masters, despite the instances of a first-timer winner being limited to one in the last 74 years.

But this is to get ahead of ourselves, something these young professionals have already learnt not to do. The first question is whether McIlroy looked like he belonged among the pines and |the azaleas? For the first 33 holes at least, the answer was that he most certainly did. Putting McIlroy, Kim and Ishikawa, debutants all, in the same group and putting them in the last group of the afternoon was hardly kind.

McIlroy said he was not as nervous teeing off at the first as back at Carnoustie. His best moments were possibly the up-and-downs he made at the opening hole, to settle what nerves he had, and at the last, to dine more enjoyably at level par.

Conditions were not as favourable as they had been earlier and the group was also immediately behind the commotion that is Tiger. “I think we were playing a different course to the guys in the morning,” McIlroy said. “It got really crusty and tricky. I hit a lot of good shots that just missed greens and I was grinding to make pars.

“But par golf in major championships is usually pretty good. I haven’t shot myself out of it.” There were many more pars yesterday morning, and even a few birdies as he went out in 34, two under. With the wind swirling annoyingly around the pines, the Northern Irishman still looked calm.

At the 13th, his favourite hole already, he fired in a second shot to six feet and holed the putt for an eagle to jump up to four under. The temptation to press at Augusta, is its most dangerous weapon.

It is not just rookies who fall prey and suffer the consequences. Sometimes attacking works out fine, as it did for Kim, but McIlroy bogeyed the 14th. He got it back at the 15th before his misadventures on the 16th green, where the hole was in its most perilous location.

At the last McIlroy found the bunker on the right of the green. Not even Woods got up and down from there. But the youngster failed to get out first time and then three-putted. No one is immune from disaster here. Whether he compounded things by kicking the sand in the bunker was what the officials were looking at.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee