Rory McIlroy says he's "still a little bit tentative on the golf course." (Halleran/Getty Images)
By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
HUMBLE, Texas -- It’s all about getting comfortable.
And Rory McIlroy isn’t quite there. Not yet anyway.
McIlroy took a step back right out of the gate Thursday afternoon when he bogeyed the second hole at Redstone and took two more at the eighth hole when he doubled to turn at 3 over. But the world No. 2 settled down on the back nine, birdied four of the next six holes and finished the day with an opening 1-over 73.
“I kept in good spirits,’’ said McIlroy, who is nine shots behind leader D.A. Points. “I didn’t get too down on myself. It would have been great to finish at even par, but 1 over . . .’’
Well, it wasn’t horrible. Especially considering the wind was blowing 10 to 20 mph in the afternoon, the greens got firm and 75 percent of the day’s low scores came from the morning rounds.
“I think if I just eliminate the stupid mistakes, you know, I made double on a par 5 on the front nine and made a couple of silly bogeys,’’ he said. “If I can, you know, just not do that and keep playing the way I'm playing, I feel like I'm playing OK.’’
This is McIlroy’s fourth start of the year.
“I think I'm still a little bit tentative on the golf course and not committing to my shots fully,’’ he said, “so -- but I think that just takes time and hopefully another three rounds this week and some good scores will give me confidence going into the Masters.’’
There’s no question he’s hitting more good shots than he was early in the year, but he’s not letting it go. “It needs to get more free-flowing,’’ he said.
And he needs to cut down on the mistakes. The ones he made at the eighth that led to the double bogey.
“I just tried to commit to myself a little more on the back nine and seemed to help,’’ he said. “So, a couple of loose shots here and there, but all in all, it was a tricky day, and if I could have got it back to even par, I would have been pretty happy, but I'm 1-over par and hopefully the conditions are a little calmer tomorrow morning and go throughout and make some more birdies."