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Golf: McIlroy stays patient and moves up in Masters

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Rory McIlroy played himself back into Masters contention on Friday, employing the kind of "grind-it-out" attitude to his round that has been his downfall in the past.

The 23-year-old world number two from Northern Ireland was disappointed with Thursday's opening round, when he could only manage level-par 72 on a day when playing conditions and pin locations were ideal for low scoring.

With the wind getting up, the rain coming down and the pins pushed out scarily to the edges for the second round, most players found they were shooting higher.

McIlory, though, went the other way with a two-under 70 that leaves him handily placed going into the weekend at two-under 142.

"I made a lot of good putts for pars on the front nine," he said. "I mean I didn't play my best for the first few holes and the eighth hole (eagle) really got me going, really kick started me.

"Then I started to hit some really good quality shots. I took advantage of a couple of easier holes on the back nine, 13, 14.

"Anything under par today was going to be a good score and I stayed patient out there when I needed to and it was a good day."

Staying patient when the conditions require it has not always been McIlroy's strength, most notably at the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews, when the wind got up in the second round, and when he blew a four-stroke lead going into the final round of the 2011 Masters.

But his two major title wins, at the 2011 US Open and at last year's PGA Championship - both by eight strokes, have shown that he can play the kind of error-free golf that major tournaments require.

The eagle he sunk at the par-five eighth, where he hit a superb five-wood from 275 yards out to eight feet, was the turning point of Friday's round after he had opened with bogeys at the first and third.

Birdies followed at 13 and 14 and although he dropped a third shot at the par-three 16th, he hit a fine approach to the last and sunk a 10-footer for birdie.

All in all, he said he was happy with the way things were going at the halfway stage in what is the first major tournament he has played with his new Nike clubs following his switch of supplier during the winter break..

"I'm comfortable with my game, I'm happy with this position going into the weekend," he said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130412/golf-mcilroy-stays-patient-and-moves-masters