Masters 2011: Rory McIlroy Makes Opening Round Statement with 7-Under-Par 65

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Masters 2011: Rory McIlroy Makes Opening Round Statement with 7-Under-Par 65
David Cannon/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy

Augusta National isn't supposed to be that easy.

Rory McIlroy wasted no time making his presence felt around the course today, birding three of his first four holes en route to a bogey-free round of 65. He currently holds a two-shot lead.

McIlroy, playing in only his third Masters, hit 10 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens and took only 26 putts to navigate Augusta on a day tailor made for scoring.

Who said you need a ton of experience to conquer Augusta?

There is an old adage in tournament golf that says, "You can't win on day one, but you sure can lose." I imagine there are players on the course reminding themselves of that right now. There is a ton of golf left to be played, but players teeing off in the afternoon no longer have the luxury of easing their way into the tournament.

They need to step on the gas pedal.

Normally, shooting even or one-under is a score most would be happy with coming out of Thursday. It keeps them in the tournament, and allows them to feel comfortable taking a few more chances beginning Friday. With McIlroy's 65 looming large on the board, however, posting 71 or 72 puts you behind the eight ball.

Look for players teeing off in the afternoon like Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Bubba Watson to be aggressive right out of the gate.

The pace has been set, and it's lighting fast.

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