Monday 16 September 2019

'I made too many mistakes' - Rory McIlroy's Masters wait set to continue after disappointing third round

Rory McIlroy in action at the Masters in Augusta. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Rory McIlroy in action at the Masters in Augusta. REUTERS/Brian Snyder Newsdesk Newsdesk

Rory McIlroy's membership of golf's most exclusive club will remain on hold after an erratic third round of the 83rd Masters.

McIlroy needs a victory at Augusta National to join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in having won all four major championships.

But while a 43-year-old Woods was doing battle for a fifth green jacket at the top of a star-studded leaderboard, McIlroy was putting the finishing touches to a second consecutive 71 to finish one under par.

The 29-year-old was eight shots off the lead as he signed his card, but low scores were the order of the day and the four-time major winner is certain to be too far back to mount a challenge on Sunday.

McIlroy got his round under way with a perfect drive and an approach to 25 feet but left his birdie putt inches short and then strangely opted to hit a three wood off the tee on the par-five second.

That meant he needed the same club for his approach from more than 300 yards and still came up 30 yards short of the green, from where he failed to get up and down for birdie.

A more aggressive approach looked set to pay dividends as McIlroy hit his drive to the edge of the green on the short third, but after a poor chip the four-time major winner lipped out for birdie.

McIlroy was also less than happy with his tee shot on the par-three fourth, but holed from 32 feet for an unlikely birdie, only to then drop shots on the sixth, seventh and ninth, where his approach plugged in the top of a greenside bunker.

A birdie on the 10th was immediately cancelled out on the next and another bogey looked on the cards after his drive on the 13th clipped a tree - but after pitching out on to the fairway McIlroy hit his approach to 13 feet and holed for birdie.

An eagle on the 15th and a birdie on the 16th kept McIlroy's faint hopes alive, but he then bogeyed the 18th after finding sand off the tee and with his approach.

"I made too many mistakes, that has really been it," he told Sky Sports.

"I made five or six bogeys the first day. I made five today. There are chances to make birdies and eagles out there and I've done that for the most part but I haven't got up and down when I needed to and I've hit some bad tee shots."

McIlroy also denied that the pressure of completing the Career Grand Slam caused him to play poorly.

"I haven't read anything," he said.

"I knew my game was good coming in here. I haven't let any external pressure get to me. I know I can play this golf course well, I just haven't played it well enough."

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