Rose, Garcia lead Masters as Spieth lurks

Posted April 09, 2017

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, hits to the 18th green during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 7, 2017, in Augusta, Ga.

He wound up going nowhere.

McIlroy wasn't ready to give up hope on a green jacket to complete the career Grand Slam, though he left Augusta National on Saturday with a 1-under 71 that left him wondering how many opportunities he threw away as so many other players were cashing in. After knocking his approach 198 yards left and past the green, almost reaching the pine straw, he popped his pitch from 27 feet high and onto the down-sloping green, spinning it to stop within 4 feet of the hole. Spieth remained at even par through two holes.

Jason Day followed up an early bogey with birdies on six of his next 13 holes, including four straight at the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th holes to make an early charge.

"Yeah, the weather's going to be better, the wind's not going to be as strong", he said. "I'm going to need something like that to have a chance tomorrow", McIlroy said.

"Waking up and you have a chance to win your favorite tournament that you've dreamt of winning and competing in since you were a kid, and to be able to have your fourth opportunity now".

Nothing irritated him more than the fifth hole.

Also in the mix are American Ryan Moore (on 4-under for the tournament), and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who shot a 4-under 68 to move to within four shots of the lead. Another uplifting shot for Spieth, who stands two shots off the lead.

And he was in good shape on the par-4 fifth hole. The only thing he couldn't do was leave it short.

"You're thinking 'I want to be in the afternoon tee times, ' but once again, it's an opportunity".

The 37-year-old Spaniard finished off his round by clenching his fist when a 7-foot par putt dropped into the cup for a 70. He missed that for a three-putt bogey.

"I don't even know how much it would mean to be able to join both of my idols as a Masters victor", he said.

The momentum shift arrived on the par-five 13th when, attempting to get on the green in two, his ball looked certain to be in the water, but it held on the edge of the creek.

"On the weekends, I tend to try and walk a little slower, make sure we're taking our time".

"The course offers you a run around the par-fives", Rose told reporters. "I sort of got the balance right today, but I didn't take my opportunities when I could have".

He got up and down from off the green for a birdie, then followed up with a birdie on 15, and holed a pressure par-putt on the last to finish at 6-under. Rickie's game is designed around making lots and lots of birdies - a quality that's about to come in very handy. "I was just in between clubs on both of those holes. But that's the way it is".