AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Don't be surprised if Rory McIlroy spends some extra time on the par-5s before next year's Masters.
The pre-tournament betting favorite, McIlroy cost himself any hope of winning the green jacket by playing the par-5s at even par. Compare that with Bubba Watson, who played them at minus-8 and won his second green jacket in three years.
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"You just can't do (that) out here," McIlroy said of the par-5s. "You're looking to play the par‑5s somewhere around 10 to 12‑under par. And obviously if I had of done that, it would have been a different story."
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McIlroy finished at even-par for the tournament. At least he had his best finish at Augusta National, tied for eighth.
Though McIlroy called this week "frustrating," he learned some things that could pay dividends both later this season and at next year's Masters. He realized on the sixth hole Sunday that his aim was off on some of his putts, and he putted the ball better after correcting that.
And he finally feels comfortable at Augusta National, no longer having to think his way through every hole.
"I feel like I can go out and play my game and hit the shots," he said. "I'm definitely not as tentative around this place as I used to be. I'm becoming a lot more aggressive and hitting iron shots closer."
Now he just needs to take advantage of those chances – particularly on the par-5s.
"I know I can do well here," McIlroy said. "It's just a matter of making the most of my chances because I gave myself plenty of chances here this week. If I had converted a few more and just as I said played the par‑5s better, it could have been a different story."
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