Cool McIlroy still in command

Cool McIlroy still in command

Northern Irishman shoots 70 to blaze away to a four-shot lead

Vintage show: Argentine Angel Cabrera acknowledges the applause after storming through the leaderboard with a brilliant 67 at the Augusta Masters on Saturday. Reuters

Tipped to be a future world number one, the 21-year-old showed poise well beyond his age as he navigated around an increasingly treacherous Augusta National with a solid two-under-par 70 that left him poised to earn the winner's green jacket.

"It feels good but I'm not getting ahead of myself. I know how leads can dwindle away very quickly," McIlroy said.

"I have to go out there tomorrow, not take anything for granted and go out and play as hard as I've played the last three days. If I can do that, hopefully things will go my way."
Northern Irishman McIlroy ended the day in total control at 12-under-par 204, four ahead of a group of four players, including 2009 Masters champion Angel Cabrera.

The Argentine stormed up the leaderboard with a 67, equalling the day's best round, to finish level with South African Charl Schwartzel (68), South Korean KJ Choi (71) and Jason Day of Australia (72).

Day, who played with McIlroy for a third successive round, briefly held the outright lead before fading on the back nine.

Tiger Woods also slipped back through the field after starting the day tied for third. The American shot a 74 to finish at five-under, seven strokes behind the man widely regarded as his successor as the game's next great player.

McIlroy had recorded three top-three finishes in his past five majors but was on the verge of his first major title after learning from the mistakes of his previous near misses.
Last year, he threw away his chances of winning the British Open when he followed up his opening round of 63 at St Andrews with an 80 but there was no repeat on Saturday as he expertly managed his way around the course on a glorious spring day.

McIlroy went through his first nine holes in level-par 36 and then broke free of the pack rounding Amen Corner. He made three birdies between the 13th and 17th, the last with a 30-foot putt from the edge of the green, leaving a trail of former major winners in his wake.

Leading scores (after 54 holes): 204: Rory McIlroy (Bri, 65, 69, 70); 208: Angel Cabrera (Arg, 71, 70, 67), KJ Choi (Kor, 67, 70, 71), Jason Day (Aus, 72, 64, 72), Charl Schwartzel (SA, 69, 71, 68); 209: Luke Donald (Bri, 72, 68, 69), Adam Scott (Aus, 72, 70, 67); 210: Bo VanPelt (US, 73, 69, 68).