Rory McIlroy and a stiff breeze are not friends.

The four-time major winner’s towering ball flight – particularly off the tee – means he’s always liable to get blown off course when a gale gets up.

If you go back far enough, you’ll remember that infamous second round at St Andrews in 2010 when he followed a 63 with an 80 as he was battered by the elements.

And yet, as we go into the weekend at Augusta, and the wind that has kept scores down over the past two days disappears into bright and warm sunshine, Rory is still very much in the hunt.

At one over par, he’s only five off the pace setters.

Now with conditions far more in his favour, there’s some merit in the 11/1 available for the Northern Irishman to complete his grand slam of titles.

There are few in this field who can get on a birdie streak like the world No.2. Just think about that late charge at the Tour Championship when an improbable eagle helped him hunt down Ryan Moore and then win in a playoff.

In 2015, he ripped round the Masters weekend in 68 and 66 on his way to finishing fourth. He’s posted an effort in the 60s in three of his last four final rounds at Augusta.

He had a similar flourish on Sunday in the US Open at Chambers Bay before faltering late on.

In my opinion, it’s too early to count him out yet.

Of the other leading contenders, with many of the oddsmakers on the verge of handing the spoils to Rickie Fowler (7/2), Thomas Pieters (8/1) and Jon Rahm (12s) will also rightly attract attention.

Both are hindered by their lack of experience at the top of major leaderboards. Both have got some serious game.

Pieters showed no fear in the Ryder Cup and it’s hard to think of a bigger pressure cooker than that environment.

At the bigger prices, Ryan Moore (33/1) is in good shape at three off the lead. With solid Augusta form to draw in, he’s worth an each-way look.