• PGA Tour

McIlroy bemoans mental malaise

ESPN staff
March 9, 2012
Rory McIlroy carded a round of 73 on the first day of the WGC-Cadillac Championship © Getty Images

Rory McIlroy has admitted concerns about his mental focus following a forgettable first round as world No. 1 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Thursday.

McIlroy, playing alongside Luke Donald, the man he toppled to reach the top rank, posted a one-over 73 to end the opening day seven shots off the lead held by Jason Dufner and Adam Scott.

The Ulsterman had four bogeys and three birdies across an underwhelming 18 holes, never looking close to recapturing the highs of his victory at the Honda Classic last weekend.

And afterwards, he conceded that he needs to be sharper in future if he is to maintain the world No. 1 ranking.

"To be honest, I felt a little flat out there," McIlroy said. "Physically, I'm fine, but mentally I don't know. When you've got a chance to go to world No. 1 and all of a sudden you are there, you're like, 'Well, what do I do?' I need to go out and set myself a target tomorrow."

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