- Associated Press - Thursday, April 7, 2011

AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) - It’s a major, and that can only mean one thing these days.

Rory McIlroy will be sitting atop the leaderboard.

The 21-year-old from Northern Ireland is the early leader at the Masters after shooting a 7-under 65 on Thursday. He has tied for third at three of the last five majors, including the last two. He also tied a major championship record when he opened with a 63 at St. Andrews in last year’s British Open.

Of course, McIlroy followed that record round with an 80, a mistake he says he never should make again. But rallying to finish third at St. Andrews, plus his other top-three finishes, have shown him he’s got the game to win a major, maybe even as early as this week.

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