• Rory McIlroy birdied three of his final six holes to score one under par
  • Jordan Spieth leads by only one stroke after a second round of 74
  • McIlroy is driven by the memory of letting a final-day lead slip in 2011
  • Spieth says the final two rounds will be like a ‘new tournament’ 

Derek Lawrenson At Augusta

Rory McIlroy vowed to have the blinkers on Saturday as he looked forward to taking on Jordan Spieth after moving to within just one shot of the Masters leader on Friday.

McIlroy and Spieth will be in the final group out in the third round.

‘I think it’s absolutely great for the game but to be honest it doesn’t matter who I’m up against, I just want to win that green jacket,’ said the Northern Irishman as he tries to become only the sixth player in history to complete the career Grand Slam.

McIlroy celebrates after sinking a crucial putt on the eighteenth on a day when he showed his fighting qualities

McIlroy celebrates after sinking a crucial putt on the eighteenth on a day when he showed his fighting qualities

The Northern Irishman is driven by the disappointment of throwing away a final-day three-shot lead in 2011

The Northern Irishman is driven by the disappointment of throwing away a final-day three-shot lead in 2011

McIlroy is driven by his bitter disappointments at Augusta, notably in 2011 when he lost a three-shot lead on the final day.

‘I sort of feel that Augusta owes me something and I’ve come this year with that attitude,’ he said. ‘I’ve come to get something I should have had a long time ago.

‘I’m certainly a lot happier than I was on day one, and that eight-foot putt I holed at the 18th was huge. I feel I have momentum.’

McIlroy had three birdies in his last six holes for a battling 71 that proved a tremendous score on a day of treacherous winds at Augusta National.

At one point he trailed Spieth by eight shots but there will be just a single stroke between them after the defending champion unravelled on the back nine and stumbled to a 74. 

Spieth said: ‘It was hard work but at the end of the day I can’t ask for much more than to be leading heading into the third round of the Masters. It was a couple of strokes higher than I was looking for, par was a good score today.

‘It was a bit disappointing but it is pretty much a new tournament coming our way over the weekend.’ 

Jordan Spieth, chasing back-to-back Masters titles, says the final two rounds will be like a 'new tournament'

Jordan Spieth, chasing back-to-back Masters titles, says the final two rounds will be like a ‘new tournament’

MASTERS THIRD ROUND TEE TIMES (all times BST, USA unless stated) 

2.50pm Bubba Watson

3.00pm Justin Thomas and Kevin Kisner

3.10pm Louis Oosthuizen (SA) and Patrick Reed

3.20pm Victor Dubuisson (Fra) and Webb Simpson

3.30pm Bill Haas and Larry Mize

3.40pm Anirban Lahiri (Ind) and Martin Kaymer (Ger)

3.50pm Charley Hoffman and Adam Scott (Aus)

4.00pm Matt Kuchar and Thongchai Jaidee (Thai)

4.10pm Henrik Stenson (Swe) and Hunter Mahan

4.20pm Romain Langasque (a) (Fra) and Harris English

4.40pm Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) and Ian Poulter (Eng)

4.50pm Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) and Keegan Bradley

5.00pm Cameron Smith (Aus) and Billy Horschel

5.10pm Justin Rose (Eng) and Jamie Donaldson (Wal)

5.20pm Emiliano Grillo (Arg) and Kevin Na

5.30pm Lee Westwood (Eng) and Paul Casey (Eng)

5.40pm Angel Cabrera (Arg) and Kevin Streelman

5.50pm Davis Love III and Jimmy Walker

6.00pm Chris Wood (Eng) and Brooks Koepka

6.10pm J B Holmes and Bernd Wiesberger (Aut)

6.30pm Berhard Langer (Ger) and Jason Day (Aus)

6.40pm Troy Merritt and Smylie Kaufman

6.50pm Dustin Johnson and Daniel Berger

7.00pm Shane Lowry (Ire) and Bryson DeChambeau (a)

7.10pm Danny Willett (Eng) and Sergio Garcia (Spa)

7.20pm Hideki Matsuyama (Jap) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thai)

7.30pm Brandt Snedeker and Soren Kjeldsen (Den)

7.40pm Danny Lee (NZ) and Scott Piercy

7.50pm Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy (NIrl)

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts,
or debate this issue live on our message boards.

Who is this week’s top commenter?
Find out now