Monday 28 May 2018

McIlroy in meltdown but Spieth keeps defence on track

Rory McIlroy lines up a putt on the 18th green. Photo: Getty
Rory McIlroy lines up a putt on the 18th green. Photo: Getty Newsdesk Newsdesk

Rory McIlroy must have felt like he was making a guest appearance in Groundhog Day at Augusta last night, as he produced a repeat performance of his 2011 final round Masters collapse - except this time it came a day earlier.

Bogies on the third and seventh were a portent of things to come for the Irishman who reached the turn in a disappointing 38 as arch-rival Jorden Spieth was moving in the opposite direction.

The reigning champion birdied the second and the eight - having dropped a shot on the seventh where McIlroy had a great chance for a two-shot swing with Spieth struggling to make par after driving into the trees and finding sand with his approach. But McIlroy three-putted from 25 feet and saw his playing partner scramble a matching five.

McIlroy then brought back memories of his collapse in 2011 by hooking his drive into the trees on the 10th. Although the ball bounced out towards the fairway, the resulting bogey dropped him further behind and the 26-year-old's chances then looked to be over when he found water with his approach to the 11th after a risky second shot from the pine straw, only for Spieth to also make a double bogey after taking four to get down from short of the green.

McIlroy just couldn't get his game going and finished with 77 to be two over par and five behind Spieth.

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