Masters Goes into the Final, McIlroy up by Four Shots
Augusta, Georgia – Golfing young gun Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland stood poised to shoot down his first major championship after shooting a Saturday 70 and taking a four-shot lead into the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament.
But there are still plenty of experienced players lurking as the 21-year-old tries to gain his biggest career win. McIlroy closed his third round in style with birdies on holes 16 and 17 to take a large, but not insurmountable lead. He finished at 204 total, 12-under-par and was four shots clear of Korea’s K. J. Choi, former Masters champion Angel Cabrera, South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel and fellow young star Jason Day, 23, from Australia. “I’m in great position for tomorrow,” McIlroy said.
Choi shot a third round 71, Schwartzel had a 68, Day was at 72 while Cabrera had the low round among the leaders at 67. “I’ve been saying it all week, I feel comfortable,” McIlroy said. “I feel comfortable with my game, feel comfortable with the way I've prepared and all of a sudden I’m feeling comfortable on this golf course.”
One player who went backwards on another perfect weather day at Augusta National was four-time champion Tiger Woods. He failed to back his up stellar second round 66, shooting eight shots higher at 74 and falling seven shots back of McIlroy. While Woods was still in striking distance for a Sunday charge, he would have been a lot closer if he gotten his putting going on the back nine. He missed two short putts inside of five feet Saturday, costing him a bogey on the par 4 11th hole and short birdie on the par 5 15th. He left another birdie try short on the par 3 16th.
“I’m going to have to put together a good front nine and see what happens,” he said. “I hit the ball well all day. That wasn’t the problem. I just made nothing. Take away the two three-putts there, a couple of unforced errors and it should have been a pretty good round.” In the last four major championships where Woods has shot a sub-70 score, he has not been unable to put up another score in the 60s the next day.
The low round of the day among the leaders was turned in by 2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera, who fired a third round 67 to quickly move up the leaderboard. He has only won two events on the PGA Tour since coming from South America, but both have been major championship, the 2007 U.S. Open and ’09 Masters. Cabrera played last week in Houston to get ready and had his personal coach Charlie Epps in Augusta with him this week. He said the comfort of friends and familiar faces at a place he has already won made him feel comfortable. “I played good today, but I have to keep going,” he said.
While he wasn’t able to summon his second round magic where he shot a 68, 1992 Masters Champion Fred Couples, 51, stayed in contact with the leaders with a birdie on No. 14, but is still far back. Defending champion Phil Mickelson failed to break 70 for the third day, finishing with a 71 and a 213 total, tied for the 18th with World No. 2 Lee Westwood and others, nine shots out of the lead.
Third round leaderboard:
1) Rory McIlroy (NIR) 65-69-70 (204, -12)
2) K. J. Choi (KOR) 67-70-71 (208, -8)
Angel Cabrera (ARG) 71-70-67
Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 69-71-68
Jason Day (AUS) 72-64-72
6) Adam Scott (AUS) 72-70-67 (209, -7)
Luke Donald (ENG) 72-68-69
Number of comments 0
Peter Mitchell believes a return to the scene of his last European Senior Tour win can reignite his ...Full article