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I'll crank up the pressure on Masters rivals, vows McIlroy

 

By Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy's quest to become the sixth player to win a career Grand Slam by claiming this weekend's Masters remains on course and he's vowed to move through the gears in today's third round.

The World No.2 added a 73 to his opening 72 after a stroke of bad luck on the 18th when his approach clattered into the pin and rebounded 20 yards off the green.

After only hitting five out of 14 fairways, the Holywood man (right) is one over par going into the weekend and lies five shots behind joint leaders Sergio Garcia, Charley Hoffman, Rickie Fowler and Thomas Pieters.

"I feel I can put a 31 or 32 together a couple of times over the weekend and get closer to the leaders," said the four-time Major champion.

"Hopefully these are the toughest conditions we have played in and hopefully I can go a lot lower over the weekend. If I can put together a 67 or a 66 I feel like I'll be right in there for Sunday. Even just being in position going into Sunday, I know more than most what can happen on Sundays around here, good and bad. I've shot 66 in the last round and I shot 80 (in 2011 when starting with a four-shot lead).

"When you take advantage of the par fives, pick up a few others, there's something in the mid-60s, and it would be a great score to go into Sunday with."

Offaly's Shane Lowry slumped to a second-round 79 that left him on a seven-over-par 151, outside the projected cut line.

Meanwhile, Danny Willett became the first defending Masters champion to miss the cut since Mike Weir in 2004.

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