'Jordan and Rory' show fails to deliver at the Masters
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - The "Jordan and Rory" show was the hottest ticket at the Masters on Saturday with the defending champion and a four-times major winner paired together for the third round but it failed to live up to its billing.
American world number two Jordan Spieth largely fulfilled his side of the bargain as he retained a one-shot lead in the year's opening major but Rory McIlroy struggled to find any spark on a brutal day for scoring in strong gusting winds.
Watched by huge galleries at Augusta National, Spieth and third-ranked Northern Irishman McIlroy generated plenty of buzz when they teed off but, by the time they finished in the Georgian twilight, there was a palpable sense of anti-climax.
Though reigning champion Spieth remained on top of the Masters leaderboard for a seventh consecutive round after battling to a one-over-par 73, he dropped three shots on the last two holes to leave his fans groaning in disappointment.
McIlroy, bidding to complete a career grand slam of the four majors, failed to register a single birdie as he struggled to a five-over 77 leaving him five strokes off the pace.
"Just one of those days," said McIlroy. "You have to try to forget about it and move on. To be honest with you, I would be feeling a lot worse about myself if I hadn't just seen what Jordan did the last two holes.
"I sort of take a bit of heart from that, that I'm still in this golf tournament."