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Rory McIlroy believes he is still in the mix after finishing strongly at The Masters

Rory McIlroy during the second round

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy fought back from the brink of disaster in the Masters to keep his hopes of the career grand slam alive.

High winds made for tough scoring at Augusta National as McIlroy birdied the second but then bogeyed the fifth and 10th and double-bogeyed the 11th to slip to four-over par. He was in danger of missing the cut for the second year running but played his last seven holes in two-under and carded a second successive 73 to lie six shots off the lead.

“That was a soft couple of holes in 10 and 11, giving away shots and then to play the last seven in two under was really nice,” McIlroy said after chipping dead for birdie at the 13th before hitting a controlled approach to seven feet at the 170-yard 16th.

“I hit the ball very well coming in and felt like I left a couple out there too. I had a few chances but it’s just one of those days where even the 10 footers are difficult because the wind is gusting and you’re thinking is it going to affect the putts or not.

“It was one of those days where these conditions for a little bit of doubt in your mind and that’s when golf can become really difficult. I’m glad to be off the course at this point but I really I do enjoy the challenge.

“This is what major championship golf is all about. It’s not easy and it’s not supposed to be easy and I think the conditions look pretty similar tomorrow as well so I’m looking forward to that.

“Somebody might get to four or five under by the end of the day but I still feel like I am right there.

“You go out tomorrow and play a decent front nine and all of a sudden you’re right in the thick of things so I’m in a decent position. I’d like to be a couple of shots better at least but I am still right there.”

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