"I thought it was flawless", he said of his approach shot.
"But I holed some good ones".
McIlroy felt he still had a chance of claiming a first green jacket if he could match, or better, his lowest score in the Masters, a 65 in the first round having seemingly set him on course for victory in 2011. McIlroy says he would've loved to shoot something in the 60's to get himself closer to the leaders, but will have to make up for it tomorrow. "But I'm still within five of the lead going into the weekend with better conditions on the way". I had a great chance on 11 and 14, and from where I hit my drives on 13 and 15, I should be making birdie off the tee shots. He was three shots behind, a name on the white leaderboards that was getting everyone's attention. The only thing he couldn't do was leave it short.
"It's tough from there", McIlroy said.
Except the ball pitched and spun back down a slope that took him from a roughly 15-foot putt to entirely off the green almost 20 yards away. He missed that for a three-putt bogey.
"I know more than most what can happen on Sundays around here, good and bad", McIlroy said. "I was a little frustrated".
U.S. soldier killed in anti-IS operations in Afghanistan
IS, notorious for their brutal reign of terror in Syria and Iraq, has been making inroads into Afghanistan in recent years. Smoke rises from the site of a blast and gunfire between Taliban and Afghan forces in Kabul , Afghanistan March 1.
Jared Kushner omits some foreign contacts on security form
We might be seeing the berserk horror of Trumpism giving way to the slightly lesser horror of normal conservatism. The insider said: "Things are happening, but it's very unclear the president's willing to pull that trigger".
Sticky Situation for Molina Leads to Cubs Win
All this came after John Lackey had what we might call "the typical Lackey first inning", though some of it wasn't his fault. The Cardinals led in the seventh inning when Cecil got Cubs pinch hitter Matt Szczur to strike out on a pitch in the dirt.
There was better news for Brandt Snedeker as he shot 69 to move to two over par for the tournament.
McIlroy was level for the day at the turn as three birdies were negated by a bogey and a double-bogey six at the seventh, and just one gain on the way home meant he signed for a one-under 71.
Spieth, the 2015 Masters champion and runner-up in 2014 and 2016, shot a 4-under 68 in Saturday's third round, carding five birdies against one bogey. "There's times on this course where you take your medicine and try to just walk away with a par".
"Then there are times to attack, and I sort of got the balance right today, but I didn't take my opportunities when I could have".
McIlroy's last birdie of the third round came on No. 12, and with two par 5s ahead of him, he was poised to get right in the thick of it. "I've shot 66 in the last round and I've shot 80".
"He said he was nervous on the first tee and I'm like, in my head I'm like, I'm kind of nervous because I don't want to let my marker beat me", Day said. I was just in between clubs on both of those holes and hit the wrong one on both, I guess, and left myself in an awkward position.