Monday, 24 April, 2017

Masters traffic jam: Contenders galore at Augusta National

Masters 2017 Ernie Els Ernie Els mastered the elements to make the cut at Augusta
Spencer Simpson | 20 April, 2017, 00:14

Once again, the missing piece of the career Grand Slam eluded Rory McIlroy at Augusta National Golf Club.

The four-time major champion is consequently level par for the tournament, half a dozen strokes behind co-leaders Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia, and McIlroy is well aware of the scale of the task he faces to finally win a green jacket.

The World No 2 finished six shots adrift of victor Sergio Garcia in seventh place after an unusually errant driving display.

He also birdied the par-four third after nearly driving the green, but his charge started to peter out when he three-putted from long range for bogey at the par-four fifth after misclubbing with his approach shot.

The four-time major victor scrambled an excellent par at seven before picking up another shot at the long eighth, but a run of four pars effectively ended any realistic hopes of pressuring the leaders.

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy tacked on a 3-under-par 35-34=69 in the final round of the 81st Masters for a four-day total of 3-under 285, up four spots to T7 with play winding down. "I'll try to take my chances, birdie the par fives and birdie some of the other holes and try to not make too many mistakes". "It was very inconsistent so there's one thing I will change and try to work on the next few weeks".

"It wasn't quite good enough".

"I felt like I had an opportunity on Saturday to shoot something in the mid to high 60s which would have got me closer to the lead and I didn't quite do that". "I had a great chance on 11 and 14", McIlroy said. "But Birkdale is one of the best Open courses on the roster and we are going to Quail Hollow for the PGA and I've had success there in the past so nothing but positives ahead I feel, and my game feels in good shape".

McIlroy was second at the halfway stage 12 months ago before seeing his challenge falter with a 77 on Saturday, but he added: "Last year I was more in defence mode rather than attack". "I feel encouraged if nothing else". It hasn't done me much good yet!

"I had some chances on the back nine that I could have converted".

"We're in a positon now where we", Spieth said, "I think, can go out there and win this thing".

"Even just being in position going into Sunday, I know more than most what can happen on Sundays around here, good and bad".

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