Des Smyth: McIlroy and Lowry "in great shape" at The Masters

The two-time Ryder Cup vice-captain was speaking to Newstalk Breakfast

Des Smyth: McIlroy and Lowry "in great shape" at The Masters

Picture by: Chris Carlson/AP/Press Association Images

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry are both in the top-15 after the opening round of The Masters.

The duo shot an opening round of level-par. They lie seven shots behind Charley Hoffman, who leads on -7.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast on Friday morning, Des Smyth feels the duo will be happy with their day's work in Augusta, where only 11 players broke par on Thursday in testing conditions.

"Rory could have easily played himself out of the tournament at +3 after nine holes. Another few mistakes and your too far off it. We have two Irish players in great shape. Rory will be the happier of the two, having made a great comeback to get to even par. Shane played great all day, but had a weak finish."

Patience was key to McIlroy's round, Smyth claimed. The four-time major winner was +3 when he reached the 13th tee, having failed to make a birdie all day.

"He hit a few poor chips early on, but then got his feel back. He's a wonderful short game player, and you have to be to play that golf course. He was very happy with his result at the end of the day."

McIlroy's round was the opposite of Shane Lowry's. The Offaly golfer started strongly, but bogies at the 15th and 16th, saw him finish with a 72.

"Shane looked very confident", Smyth noted. "He hit some great shots and drove the ball brilliantly. He's in good shape. If they can both have a good round today, they'll be right in the mix."

Charley Hoffman leads on -7, but Smyth feels most players will not be focused on the 40-year-old, when they tee off on Friday afternoon.

"Lots of players are not worried about Charley. They're worried about themselves, trying to get a good round in, to get themselves back into the hunt".