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Published: 08:26 | 5/4/16

Ace for McIlroy in Masters practice


Rory McIlroy got his Masters week off to the perfect start as he made a hole-in-one during his first practice round at Augusta National.

McIlroy has yet to win the coveted Green Jacket, but he looked in good shape during Monday's practice session at the famous venue as he aced the 16th hole to complete a 3&2 win in his match against England's Chris Wood.

The hole-in-one was met by a huge roar from the watching crowd and he was in good spirits as he spoke to reporters after his practice round.

"I don't think I have ever heard a roar that large in a practice round. It was great. It was a nice practice round and a bit of a highlight. And it ended the match as well," McIlroy said.

"I played well. I feel like my game is in good shape. We both hit just one ball (off the tee). It gets me into a nice mindset of this is how I'm going to play, so I'm going to try to do the same tomorrow, play 18 and a match with someone.

"I feel that's the best way for me to prepare. It's competitive. You're trying to shoot a score. The pins aren't in the spots where they are going to be at the weekend, but at the same time you still have to get the ball in the hole and hole putts that you feel a little bit of pressure on."

It was a busy day on the course as players gear up for Thursday's opening round, but just 89 players will tee up for the first major of the year following Fred Couples' withdrawal.

The 1992 will miss the tournament at Augusta for the first time since 1994 because of an acute back problem, resulting in the smallest field since 2002.

The Masters is live on Setanta Ireland. Coverage begins at 8pm on Thursday.

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