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Golf: 'Mental mistakes' dog McIlroy's Masters tune-up

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

With the Masters just one week away, Rory McIlroy says mental mistakes are still hampering his efforts to get back on top and reclaim control of his game.

McIlroy, who has had a disappointing start to 2013, signed up for the Texas Open at the last minute, aiming to get a few solid rounds under his belt before the first major of the year begins at Augusta National.

But he settled for an even-par 72 in the first round at TPC San Antonio, with his four bogeys including a string of three in a row mid-round that robbed him of all momentum.

"I started off well -- got it to two under -- then I threw in those silly mistakes I was talking about trying to eliminate," said McIlroy, who teed off on 10 and birdied the par-five 14th and the par-four 17th.

His first bogey of the day came at the par-five 18th, where his approach barely cleared the creek but clattered back into the water.

He followed with a bogey at the first and another at the par-five 2nd hole.

Back-to-back birdies at five and six helped, but he threw in another bogey at his final hole, the par-four ninth.

It was a disappointing finish to a round in which he had an eagle chance at 17 when he reached the green off the tee but saw his next shot lip out.

Early season struggles by McIlroy and a switch to new equipment opened the door for the Northern Irishman to be overtaken by Tiger Woods atop the world rankings in March.

He's hoping to get his game sharpened up in time to give himself a chance at adding a Masters green jacket to previous major wins at the 2011 US Open and 2012 PGA Championship.

Wind was a factor for McIlroy on Thursday as for the rest of the field, and he said his focus would remain on trying to make fewer mistakes.

"It's hard to make birdies out there, especially when the conditions are like they are today," he said.

"I need to limit those mistakes, definitely more mental mistakes than physical. Just stop doing them ... It comes with play. That's why I'm here this week."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130404/golf-mental-mistakes-dog-mcilroys-masters-tune