He made two birdies and four bogeys in the third round of the Shell Houston Open, and now the oddsmakers’ Masters favorite will be looking for something, anything, encouraging heading into the final day.
“Nothing is really happening out there,” said McIlroy, who at 2-under 215 is more than a dozen shots off the lead. “I need a little spark out there to get me going.”
McIlroy’s long game appears in shape – he is in the top 10 in both driving distance and proximity to the hole – but he’s been let down by a cold putter. When he finished his round, he was outside the top 50 in strokes gained-putting.
That doesn’t much bother McIlroy, who is already looking forward to the speedier greens at Augusta, where he won’t feel as though he needs to “hit” the putts as much. At the Masters, McIlroy also will rely more on visualization – dying the ball into certain parts of the hole, because the greens are so fast that it’s difficult to be precise.
“It’s good to get it all out of the system this week,” he said, smiling. “I’m glad it’s not next week. I’m glad I’m not 40th going into the last day.”