Hole in one thrills spectators
Rory McIlroy has grand slam ambitions in his sights at this week's Masters and he thrilled the fans with a hole-in-one during practice at Augusta National on Monday.
The Northern Irish world number three aced the par-three 16th with a seven-iron from 170 yards, sparking thunderous roars from the watching galleries.
"I don't think I have ever heard a roar that large during a practice round," a smiling McIlroy told reporters after his dramatic shot earned him a 3&2 win over England's Chris Wood in a friendly match-play encounter.
"I feel like my game is in good shape," said McIlroy, adding that he loved to play competitive matches during practice rounds. "It gets me into a nice mindset.
"So I'm going to try to do the same tomorrow, play 18 and have a match with someone.
"That's the best way for me to prepare. It's competitive. You're trying to shoot a score."
Asked to assess the condition this week of the heavily contoured layout at Augusta National, McIlroy replied: "Not very different at all to what we saw last year.
"The way the course is now is probably like it played last year. a little soft and a bit slow. I am sure they are trying to get it faster and firmer as the week goes on."
Wood, the 6' 6'' Bristolian, is getting ready to play in his second Masters, having missed the cut on his debut in 2010.
"I feel like I can come here to compete now, rather than six years ago coming here to play in the Masters," he added.
"It's a very different approach. Even just things like knowing my way round... I know which door I've got to use in the locker room without being told off!
"Even the couple of days when I was here last week, the guys in the pro shop were so friendly and I do feel a lot more comfortable.
It was some atmosphere out there for a practice round, especially when Rory made that hole-in-one.
"We've got two days left and the crowds and the atmosphere will grow. There's no place like this."