Rory McIlroy will be hunting more than 54-hole leader Patrick Reed in the final round of the Masters … he’ll be gunning for a place in history as only the sixth player to achieve golf’s career Grand Slam, joining Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen.
McIlroy has four Majors on his resume (2011 US Open, 2012 and 2014 PGA Championship, 2014 British Open) and only needs the Green Jacket to complete the collection. However, the Northern Irishman will have to chase down the three-shot lead of the ever-improving Reed, who beat him in an epic first singles match in the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.
“I wish I was a little closer to the lead or leading … but I’m in the final group and I’ve shot 65 on moving day at the Masters. That’s all I can ask for,” said McIlroy.
“Patrick’s got a three-shot lead and I feel like all the pressure’s on him. He’s got a few guys chasing him who are pretty big-time players. He’s got that to sleep on tonight,” he added.
McIlroy certainly knows what he’s talking about. In 2011, he took a four-shot lead into the final round at Augusta National but self-destructed on the back nine and wound up 10 shots behind winner Charl Schwartzel after a closing 80.
“I’ve always said 2011 was huge turning point in my career. It was the day I realised I wasn’t ready to win Major championships … and I needed to reflect on that and realise what I needed to do differently.
“But now I am ready and I’m happy to be in the final group … obviously I’m not in the lead going into the final round like I was then and I probably don’t have as much pressure. I don’t have to protect anything and can just go out and sort of free-wheel like I did today,” noted McIlroy.
Leading Round 3 Scores
202 (-14) – Patrick Reed 69-66-67
205 (-11) – Rory McIlroy 69-71-65
207 (-9) – Rickie Fowler 70-72-65
208 (-8) – Jon Rahm 75-68-65
209 (-7) – Henrik Stenson 69-70-70
210 (-6) – Tommy Fleetwood 72-72-66, Bubba Watson 73-69-68, Marc Leishman 70-67-73