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Strong Friday crucial for Rory McIlroy

Updated: March 28, 2013, 8:53 PM ET
By Farrell Evans | ESPN.com

HUMBLE, Texas -- Rory McIlroy might not win the Shell Houston Open this week, but he desperately needs to play 72 holes if he wants to take any momentum into the Masters.

In his first round since losing the No. 1 world ranking to Tiger Woods, McIlroy shot a 1-over 73 on Thursday on the Tournament Course at the Redstone Golf Club.

After shooting a 3-over-par 39 on his first nine holes, the 23-year-old Holywood, Northern Ireland native ...

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