Day heads stellar cast to set up a Masters special

Sun Apr 3, 2016 10:05am EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - If a standout movie is guaranteed by a stellar cast, then the Masters is shaping up as one of the best in recent memory with all of the game's leading players having produced superb form over the past three months.

World number three Rory McIlroy is the only player ranked in the top six who has not claimed at least one tournament win so far this year, though he came close with a tie for third at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami last month.

Second-ranked American Jordan Spieth, the reigning Masters champion, triumphed at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January while red-hot Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott have each landed two PGA Tour titles over the past five weeks.

World number four Bubba Watson, a double winner at Augusta National, clinched the Northern Trust Open in February and his good friend, fifth-ranked fellow American Rickie Fowler, won the European Tour's Abu Dhabi Championship in January.

"Everyone is running in good form," Northern Irishman McIlroy said while preparing for the April 7-10 Masters, the first of the year's four major championships. "And they're all good champions, a few of them are Masters champions.

"You want your game rounding into form and playing to the best of your abilities this time of year. I feel like I'm close.

"I'm probably not quite where they are, and I haven't had the confidence of getting a win this year, but I feel like it's close."

Aged just 26, McIlroy has already claimed four major titles and next week he will be bidding for his first Green Jacket at the picturesque 'Cathedral of Pines' in Georgia, to complete a career grand slam of golf's four blue riband events.   Continued...

Jason Day of Australia tees off against Brooks Keopka of the United States in round five of the World Golf Championship-Dell Match Play at the Austin Country Club.  Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports