CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 03: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his tee shot on the third hole during the first round of the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 3, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
McIlroy mixed five birdies with two bogeys to shoot a first-round 68, which now positions him in the top five on the leaderboard and just one stroke off the pace as the afternoon wave of players begin their rounds.
The Clara man three-putted the third from 52 feet, birdied the par-five seventh to get back to level but then had a torrid time with the blade on the back nine.
A month ago, everything looked fine as McIlroy was in prime position to win the green jacket.
"I was disappointed because I just didn't give a good account of myself the last day", McIlroy said. That 65 was as good as I could have played.
"It was just the quiet moments when you're staring off into the distance and thinking about a certain shot or a certain putt, so it got to the point where I needed to see a bit of daylight and start to do my normal things", he said. It is the biggest golf tournament in the world; the most amount of eyeballs; the most amount of hype; the most everything is at Augusta.
The Holywood ace shocked traditionalists on the eve of the Wells Fargo Championship when he said "the Masters has now become THE biggest golf tournament in the world".
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"I got lucky, I chipped in, there were a couple of balls that hit trees and came back into the fairways, hit it up in the azaleas, I got away with it".
"That was a new lob wedge that I put in the bag this week, I think the new grooves helped me there a little bit, just got a bit more spin on it than the lob wedge I was using. I grinded really well", Hatton said.
McIlroy's 21-under-par score of 267 in 2015 may stand as a record for the this tournament for a long time.
He plays his first tournament since Augusta this week at Quail Hollow, where he has won twice, and said in the build up that The Masters is golf's biggest event.
"I've always enjoyed the golf course through the different variations of it from 2010 all the way up until now". "It fits my eye".
For most people, this would be a throwaway line that everyone knows has no chance of happening - sort of like saying you were going to climb Mount Everest on your birthday.
"I am a very proud victor of both those tournaments".