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Masters Leaderboard Day 3: Rory McIlroy In Control After Early Struggles

Masters Leaderboard Day 3 Sees Rory McIlroy Close Round 3 in Style

After a mediocre start to Round 3 on Saturday, 21-year-old Rory McIlroy didn't crumble. He flourished.

McIlroy did what only seasoned veterans are supposed to do: he scored three birdies, in holes 13, 15 and 17, and closed off with a four-stroke lead in the Masters.

He looked in command, confident and spot-on when so many were struggling to eclipse him.

His long putt at 18 gave him a 2-under for the day, and a 12-under for the tournament.

Via BBC:

"It's a great position to be in," said McIlroy."I stayed patient. I'm really happy with the way I stuck to my gameplan and it paid off in the end. I feel comfortable with my game , with the way I've prepared and all of a sudden I finally feel comfortable on this golf course."

If he plays anything like he did in the later half of Round 3 on Saturday, then he should come away with the green jacket.

But he does have plenty of competition.

2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera stormed back on Saturday, with a 5-under par for the day to finish with an 8-under par and four strokes behind McIlroy.

There's also Jason Day, the 23-year-old trying to become the first Australian to win the Masters, also at 8-under par.

And K.J. Choi has surprised to an extent, with a 1-under par today to close out tied for second with Cabera, Day and Charl Schwartzel.

A championship by McIlroy would make him the second-youngest player ever to win a Masters, just behind Tiger Woods when he won it in 1997.

Thankfully for McIlroy, he probably won't have to fend off Woods, who struggled mightily in Round 3 to close with a 2-over par, seven strokes behind the youngster through three rounds.

A 21-year-old is vying for the green jacket with just one round remaining, and Woods' former self is nowhere to be found.

For more on the 2011 Masters, go here.

TAGS: 2011 Masters Tournament, , golf