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McIlroy keeps his lead through Round Three

Saturday, April 9, 2011

AUGUSTA---It's moving day at Augusta National, as Round Three is now complete. Could the players possibly top that wild and crazy Friday? Of course.

Probably the biggest question starting the day was whether 21-year-old Rory McIlroy hold off the challenge of Tiger Woods and company. And could Phil Mickelson mount a challenge?

"Things weren't going that well for me," McIlroy said. "+1 through 12 holes. And then played the last six holes in -3, it was great, and yeah, that was the key thing for me. Just really, stay on pitch."

McIlroy is still the leader going into Sunday, at -12 overall.

"I'm happy with how I played today," said Charl Schwartzel, who finished at -4 today, with -9 overall. "I thought I stuck in there really well."

"I took advantage of what I had," said Angel Cabrera through an interpreter. "I hit the ball very well also today, but I took advantage. Maybe the other days I hit it good and didn't take advantage as I did today."

While a lot of the leaders didn't change much during the third round, it's a different story for those hovering around -2 or -3.

Bo Van Pelt and Adam Scott made solid strides to put themselves into contention. Phil Mickelson, on the other hand, never got the putter working and knows he has his work cut out for him tomorrow.

"Like I thought that this was going to be an easy week given that I knew the greens so well and I putted them so well in the past, and I felt so good with the putter that I thought I was going to have a really great putting week, but it hasn't turned out that way. I haven't read them right, my speed hasn't been quite on." Phil finished at -1 today, -3 overall.

"I just struggled for my rhythm the first couple days," said Adam Scott, who finished at -6 today, -7 overall. "But today on the range it kind of all fell into place. I was feeling really good, hitting nice shots, and got off to a good start."

"It's gratifying to hit good shots in a big-time tournament like this," Van Pelt said. He finished at -4 today, -6 overall. "I've done it pretty well the first two days, and to do it again today just, you know, that's the gratifying part."

According to the old adage, the tournament doesn't really start until Sunday afternoon on the back 9. Lee Westwood found that out firsthand. Remember, he had a four shot lead, and then in about an hour that had disappeared.

We have a lot of former winners on the board, Angel Cabrera and Tiger Woods are right there, and you have some of the new faces, McIlroy, Jason Day, Charl Schwartzel. How are they going to handle that Sunday pressure?

Rory McIlroy has been third place in a couple of other majors, so he's sort of used to this pressure. Now it's just a matter of closing the deal at what's probably the biggest major there is.


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