Rory McIlroy extended his lead from two shots to four in the third round of The Masters today. With only the final eighteen holes to play tomorrow, Sunday, Sky Sports analyst Colin Montgomerie believes Rory needs to repeat today’s round of 2-under par 70 to be offered a seat in Butler Cabin tomorrow evening, wearing a green jacket.
Easier said than done, of course. In 1996, Greg Norman had a six-shot lead over Nick Faldo before the final round, but ended up loosing by three after the Englishman shot 67. Now, McIlroy has seven players within the same striking distance, the last of which being the leading American in the field – Bo Van Pelt (!)
McIlroy will be paired with former Masters champion Angel Cabrera, who posted a score of 67, which was second to none today as the greens gradually firmed up with the wind being just enough to have players second-guessing themselves.
“I will not be thinking of anything other than the first tee shot tomorrow,” said McIlroy after his round today that was capped off with an elegant, long, downhill putt for birdie on the difficult 17th green – extending his lead from the comfortable three shots to the almost decisive four.
The margin may look safe, but there is an alarming number of players lurking behind with the ability to jump out of the gates and post an early progress on Augusta Nationals scoreboards. By the time McIlroy steps on the first tee, he may find himself with a lead so slim that he may not afford opening the final round with a bogey.