Masters 2019: Rory McIlroy’s hopes of winning fade after round of 71

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Masters 2019: Rory McIlroy’s hopes of winning fade after round of 71
‘He’s got it’ – McIlroy birdies fourth hole to move under par
2019 Masters
Dates: 11-14 April Venue: Augusta National
Coverage: Watch uninterrupted live coverage on BBC Two, with up to four live streams online. Live radio and text commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live & the BBC Sport website. Full details

Rory McIlroy’s hopes of a first Masters title look to be over for another year after the Northern Irishman finished the third round on one under par.

McIlroy, who has won golf’s three other majors, showed flashes of form but three bogeys in four holes on his outward nine derailed his challenge.

An eagle at the par-five 15th was flanked by birdies on the 13th and 16th as the 29-year-old moved to two under.

But he dropped another shot on the 18th and posted a one-under-par 71.

“Too many mistakes is the big thing,” he told BBC Sport.

“I’ve been making the birdies, and doing the things that you need to do around here. I just haven’t driven it in the fairway enough to have control going into these greens.

“I’ve just got to keep playing to the end – I’ve got one more day to try and get myself up the leaderboard.”

Rory McIlroy struggles to explain Augusta woes

It was a disappointing finish to a round that had shown promise after he birdied the par-three fourth.

But after short-siding himself with a pulled tee shot on the sixth and missing a simple par putt, he compounded that with another bogey on the seventh after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.

A third pulled tee shot on the par-five eighth left his ball up against a tree and he was only able to hack the ball 50 yards up the fairway and ended up with a par.

The players look to Augusta National’s par-five holes as the ones where they can make up ground – in McIlroy’s 38 Masters rounds before this week, he was 61 under on the four longest holes. By comparison, he was 11 over on the par threes and 35 over on the par fours.

McIlroy took advantage of the par fives on the second nine, with a birdie at 13, despite tugging another drive into the woods, and then eagling the 15th after a sumptuous iron to 10 feet.

But hopes of finishing with two more birdies were hindered by more poor drives. He ended up right, and in the woods on 17, before tugging his tee shot on the 18th into a fairway bunker.

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