Rory McIlroy said he's happy about his position heading in to the weekend despite being seven shots behind the leaders
Rory McIlroy spent his press conference earlier in the week telling media that he's been practicing meditation and has a renewed sense of perspective when it comes to looking at results.
As much was evident after posting a second round one-under 71 on Tuesday that leaves him seven shots behind the leaders, as McIlroy declared himself 'pretty pleased' about his position heading in to the weekend.
McIlroy has the chance to complete the major grand slam this week but has given himself a lot of work to do as he mixed flashes of brilliance with unforced errors for the second day in a row at Augusta National.
The 29-year-old began the day at one-over and didn't make things easier for himself after chipping in to the bunker with his third on the par-five second and failing to get up and down for par.
McIlroy did momentarily look to be turning his fortunes around after hitting his approach on the sixth to four-feet and converting for birdie, and moved to one-under for the tournament just two holes later thanks to a sensational eagle.
But it wasn't to last: Another failed sand save dropped him back to level on the 11th, and he made his second six of the day at the par-five 13th after finding the water with his second.
McIlroy did make an excellent par-save on 15 and followed it with a 50-foot birdie putt on the par-three 16th to get back to one-under for his round, and it was that performance over the closing stretch that left him feeling positive about his chances.
"I'm actually happy to be where I'm at, especially having to get it up and down from 180 yards on the 15th to make par," said McIlroy, who was arguably the pre-tournament favourite heading in to the Masters but has struggled to sustain momentum for the first two rounds.
"I played the last four in one under to be safe for the weekend, but I was staring bogey in the face at 15 and thinking I'd have to play the last three at even par just to make the cut.
"To be here on the weekend and only be seven back, I'm actually pretty pleased. The eagle on eight was fantastic and that got me going, I had a great putt on nine and I don't know how that didn't go in. I got up and down on 10, and then the hooter blew on 11 and that sort of stopped any of the momentum. So I just had to try to pick it up a little from there."
"It's just so bunched, and there are so many guys with a chance coming into the last two days. So if I can get off to a decent start on Saturday, shoot 33 or 32 on the front nine, I'm right back in it.
"I'm much happier now than I was last night coming off the course, when I had just bogeyed the last two holes. In comparison, one under for the last four to get myself in for the weekend, thinking on the middle of the 15th fairway I had a realistic chance are not being here. So to get in and be seven back, I'm pretty happy."
"I don't feel like I'm that far away. To shoot under par today considering some of the breaks I got and some of the shots I hit, and I'm right there.