'It sort of just got into my head a little bit' - Rory McIlroy rues missed putts but cards solid round at Irish Open
Rory McIlroy has admitted that the his putting performance got into his head during his first round at the Irish Open.
The Holywood golfer finished at -2 but, tee to green, played well enough to shoot a score much, much better than that.
Seven missed putts around ten feet or less and it was a tale of woe for the flatstick.
"It could have been a lot better," he conceded.
"It's the best I hit the ball in a long time. I put the ball in play, what I needed to do, and drove the ball very well. Iron play was good. I just struggled on the greens. It was either I hit good putts and just didn't read them right, or sometimes it was maybe a reaction of putts I had hit previously on a couple holes earlier.
"It sort of just got into my head a little bit. I held some decent putts. I held a couple of good ones for par. I held a nice one on 12 for birdie but I'm going to need to putt a little bit better over the next three days to have a chance."
McIlroy said he would work on his putting this evening as he looks to take advantage of his tee to green game that was, by and large, all-but perfection.
"I hit the ball very well," he said. "I gave myself a lot of chances, which is what you need to do around here. You need to put the ball in play off the tee and I was able to do that. And able to do that a lot better than I have done the last few weeks which is positive.
"I just need to hole a few more putts and see a few drop and hopefully that will give me bit of momentum to go into the next few days.
"So you know, I'm right in it. I'm only three behind. I'm not too far off the lead and if I can hit the ball similar to today over the next few days and just get a few more to drop, I should be right in."
Rory tees off at 8.20am on the 10th tomorrow morning.
Padraig Harrington leads the Irish charge on -4 while Graeme McDowell is a shot behind McIlroy on -1.
Shane Lowry, Simon Thornton and Ruaidhri McGee all sit on level par while Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan are a shot back on +1.