Rory McIlroy Takes A 4 Shot Lead to the Final Round at Augusta- By Dorian Netolicky on April 10, 2011 17:55 GMT
A tidy 2-under 70 has put Rory McIlroy in position to be the second youngest winner of the Masters as he heads to the final round with a four shot lead over a group of four players, including past champion Angel Cabrera.
It appeared McIlroy was coming back to the field yesterday as he was 1-over for his round thru 10 holese, but a run of three late birdies, culminating with a birdie on 17, has set him up with the opportunity of a lifetime as he sits at 12-under.
The 21-year old has looked far beyond his years this week playing the timeless Augusta National layout with precision making only three bogeys all week. A stunning stat indeed considering just how tricky Augusta can be and, to put it in perspective, veterans like KJ Choi and Tiger Woods have averaged three bogeys per round.
Considering the large group in second, McIlroy could face a challenge if anyone in at 8-under can get off to a quick start, but if the young Northern Irishman can avoid any big numbers someone is going to have to shoot a near perfect round to catch him. Thus, the books send him out at (4-6).
Second on the betting board is KJ Choi, at (9-1), who managed a 71 on Saturday to sit at 8-under for the tournament. Choi, along with Cabrera, seem to pose the biggest threat to McIlroy, as he’s had considerable success at Augusta in the past and is certainly comfortable with the endless nuances of Augusta National.
Choi finished 3rd at the Masters in 2004 and tied for 4th last year and, thus, he’ll be dialed in as he looks to get over the hump and become the first Asian born player to don the green jacket.
Luke Donald is at 7-under, five back of McIlroy’s lead, but he’s third with the books at (11-1). He’s fired two straight sub-70 rounds making six birdies total on the front nine so a quick start for the Englishman could be in the cards as he goes after that elusive first major championship.
Angel Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion, is at 8-under and heads out Sunday at (11-1). He got thru Amen Corner with two birdies on Saturday and if he can repeat that feat, and is within a few shots of the lead, the Argentinean could make up considerable ground if the rest of the leading pack falters.
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