McIlroy (69) secures career-best Masters finish

Rory McIlroy fired a 3-under 69 to move to T-8 for the tournament at even par.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – On Saturday afternoon, Rory McIlroy had resigned himself to the fact that a green jacket wasn't a real possibility – disappointing oddsmakers after he was a co-favorite with Adam Scott at the outset of the week.

He revealed a new goal for himself for Masters Sunday: secure his best finish at Augusta National, with a T-15 in 2011 his best to date.

Consider it mission accomplished.

McIlroy fired a 3-under 69 to finish at even par for the tournament, putting him at T-8 as the leaders came down the stretch.

But don't let that think he's satisfied with his play this week.

"It's been a frustrating week, because I felt like from tee‑to‑green I played as good as the leaders. I don't think I've ever played as good tee‑to‑green around this course as I have this week," said McIlroy. "Above par is very comfortable, I just need to take some more chances that I've given myself on the greens."

Playing in his sixth Masters, the 69 tied his best final round of his young career, having done the same in 2013.

On Saturday, he relayed that his problem is the blow-up round, a problem he's had the last five appearances. Let's take a look:

  • In 2010, it was a second-round 77 that caused him to miss the cut.
  • In 2011, it was an 80 that saw him lose a big lead on the back nine.
  • In 2012, weekend rounds of 77-76 sent him from third after 36 holes to a T-40 finish.
  • In 2013, a third-round 79 ruined his chances.
  • This year, he suffered the same fate with a 77 in the second round.

"It's just turning those 77s and the high ones into 72s or 73s; that's the real key for me around here," said McIlroy. "I know when I get it going I can make a few birdies and I can shoot the scores. But it's just making sure that I don't let a round get away from me, like it sort of did (Friday).

"I've been saying that the last three years I've been coming here, I still haven't figured out how to do it."

That answer will need to wait 361 more days.

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