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Rory McIlroy falls back at Masters with a 77

Tiger Woods can't get anything going and trails by 12.

April 07, 2012|By Jeff Shain and Teddy Greenstein
  • Rory McIlroy can only sigh as he three-putts at No. 13 on Saturday during the third round of the Masters.
Rory McIlroy can only sigh as he three-putts at No. 13 on Saturday during… (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images )

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Rory McIlroy's third round Saturday was not equal to last year's train wreck, when his bloody Sunday score was 80. But this year's version — a five-over-par 77 — was far worse than a fender-bender.

The trouble started on No. 1, when McIlroy missed his approach wide right. He chipped over the green and then pitched well short, his ball backing up to 20 feet. From there, he two-putted.

By the time you blinked, McIlroy was off the leaderboard. And he would not return, not after three-putting from 12 feet for a second double bogey on No. 7.

McIlroy finally made his first birdie on No. 12. Playing partner Sergio Garcia also rolled in a birdie and then walked over to his European pal, extended his arms. The two hugged it out.

"We needed to feel a little love from someone out there," McIlroy said.

Added Garcia, who shot a 75: "I love the guy, so I wanted to get a hug and hopefully get a little good momentum. Unfortunately it didn't happen because we both three-putted 13."

McIlroy did hit one of the shots of the day on No. 18, nearly holing his approach for an eagle.

Tiger close?

Tiger Woods did not drop-kick his nine-iron Saturday. He didn't rally, either.

The four-time Masters champion spun his wheels with an even-par 72, playing his final 14 holes without a birdie. That left him at three over, 12 behind the leader.

Well, not according to Woods.

"I'm telling you, it was so close to being a really good round of golf," he said. "I just didn't take care of the opportunities when I had them."

Woods birdied two of his first four holes Saturday but gave back both strokes by the turn. He parred the entire back nine.

"It's just so frustrating," he said.

For the second consecutive day, Woods failed to birdie any of Augusta National's par-fives. Before this year, that had happened just twice in 17 previous Masters visits. Over those 17 years, he was 133 under par on those four holes.


Padraig Harrington caught fire on the back, birdieing Nos. 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18 to shoot 68 and get to four under for the tournament. "That's very much what Augusta is like," he said. "When things are going [well], take your chances. Because you'll have some go against you, and you have to make up for those dropped shots." … Luke Donald knocked in an eagle two from 80 yards out on No. 3 but still shot a 75 … Gary Woodland withdrew with a left wrist injury after shooting a third-round 85.

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