McIlroy leads Masters, saying cool on hot day

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by AP

WCNC.com

Posted on April 9, 2011 at 10:27 PM

It was a roar that defines the Masters, so loud it startled even Tiger Woods.

Rory McIlroy, who already dazzled the crowd with a shot through the pines to the back of the 17th green, raised the putter in his left hand as the birdie putt turned toward the hole, then slammed his right fist when the ball disappeared into the cup.

The cheer was so clamorous that Woods, who had settled over his shot in the 18th fairway, had to back away. After all these years of crushing the hopes of so many others, the four-time Masters champ finally felt what it was like on the other end.

That moment -- and right now, this Masters -- belongs to McIlroy.

"I had been waiting on a putt to drop all day," McIlroy said Saturday. "And for it to drop there, it was great timing."

It sent the 21-year-old from Northern Ireland to a 2-under 70 and gave him a four-shot lead going into Sunday, the largest 54-hole lead at the Masters since a 21-year-old Woods led by nine in 1997.

Woods is not close to him after a 74 to finish seven shots behind. Chasing after McIlroy are former Masters champion Angel Cabrera, Charl Schwartzel, K.J. Choi and Jason Day.

"It's a great position to be in," McIlroy said. "I feel comfortable with my game, comfortable with the way I prepared, and all of a sudden I'm finally feeling comfortable on this golf course. With a combination like that, you're going to feel pretty

good."

He is making it look easy.

That bounce in his step turned into a swagger as he walked to the 18th tee, ripped another drive and walked toward the green to a loud ovation -- perhaps a preview to a coronation.

 

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