That possibility was within grasp a little more than two months ago. He wrapped up Saturday at the Masters with a two-shot lead and held a one-stroke edge at the turn. But he struggled on the back nine, wound up with an 80 and finished 10 behind winner Charl Schwartzel.
This time, there is optimism things will be different at this major thanks to experience forged through struggles at Augusta.
“It was all a little bit new to me, going into the final round with a lead,” McIlroy said. “I didn’t know whether to be defensive, aggressive, go for it, not go for it. But now I know what I need to do, which is a great thing to have — a clear mind going out there. I just need to stick to my game plan.”
The only hint of slippage Saturday was a bogey at No. 10, yet even there McIlroy felt he made solid shots off the tee and from the bunker before under-reading a par putt. He responded immediately with a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 11, and he tacked on a birdie at No. 14 in immediate response to Yang’s first birdie of the day.
Thus, a seemingly inevitable development came to pass: McIlroy carries a commanding advantage into the final day. McIlroy has led after six of seven rounds at majors this year. The lone exception was his final-round implosion at Augusta, a trying afternoon that imparted substantial lessons to the precocious star.
Knowledge, if the week to date is any indication, that will surely be put to use Sunday.
“I’ve learned a lot from all these experiences, and I feel as if I’ve had I’ve had enough experiences leading majors and being up there that the time is right that I get my first one,” McIlroy said.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
The president's men trash the Constitution to pursue antagonists
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
We welcome you to the intimate and personal thoughts on the news and events we, as editors, watch, read, and discuss with our writers every day.
A collection of reader guest articles, thoughts and opinions by Communities writers and breaking news and information.
News and opinion from a Millennial Urbanite with Southern sensibilities,
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention