Masters 2018: Rory McIlroy has career Grand Slam in sights but must beat nemesis Patrick Reed

RORY McILROY is close to golfing immortality – with the career Grand Slam tantalisingly within reach.

The four-time Major winner shot a stunning 65 to earn a place in the final group of The Masters on Sunday, alongside old rival Patrick Reed.

 Rory mcIlroy fist pumps after a stunning eagle on the 8th hole during the third round of the Masters

EPA
Rory mcIlroy fist pumps after a stunning eagle on the 8th hole during the third round of the Masters

McIlroy has to make up a three-shot deficit – but he will know how quickly bigger leads can crumble after his four-shot advantage disappeared during a horrible meltdown in 2011.

The four-time Major winner was chasing his first big one then.

This time it is Reed who is trying to make the breakthrough at the highest level.

He will be under even more pressure than McIlroy, who is bidding to become only the sixth player to win all four Majors – alongside Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, and Gene Sarazen.

 McIlroy found himself out of luck with a tough lie on the 13th

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McIlroy found himself out of luck with a tough lie on the 13th
 McIlroy is chasing a Masters win that would complete his set of Majors

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McIlroy is chasing a Masters win that would complete his set of Majors

McIlroy has played the last 30 holes without a single bogey, while history suggests Reed is due at least a mediocre round.

No-one in Masters history has ever shot four rounds in the 6os, and the Texan has already posted scores of 69-66-66 to power to 15 under par.

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McIlroy said: “I’ve been waiting for this chance, and now it;’s here. And I’m ready for it.

“I always said 2011 was huge turning point in my carrer. It was when I realised I wasn’t ready to win Major championships, and what I needed to do to get there.

 McIlroy shows his delight at making a birdie on the 18th

AP:Associated Press
McIlroy shows his delight at making a birdie on the 18th

“I reflected on what happened then and did what I needed to become a winner at this level. I’m not in the elad here, which means I can freewheel a bit like I did today – as far as I’m concerned the pressure is on Patrick more than me.

“This was a great day – I’m closer to the lead than when I started, which is a real bonus considering Patrick shot 67 and played really well.

“I played great too, but I also rode my luck – flicking the bunker on seven, chipping in on eight, making birdie on 18 and finding myself in the azaleas on 13. Again!

“It was a sea of pink so I was lucky to find my ball. That was agreta par there, and I feel I’m in a great position heading into the final round.”

RORY McILROY is close to golfing immortality – with the career Grand Slam tantalisingly within reach.