Rory McIlroy, the former world No. 1 golfer who came to the Masters Tournament seeking a third major title, was outscored by an amateur member of Augusta National in today’s third round.
McIlroy, who entered the tournament tied with defending champion Adam Scott as the oddsmakers’ co-favorite, was the 51st and final player to make the 36-hole cut. With an uneven number of players left in the field, McIlroy was sent out today with club member Jeff Knox, 51, who played along with the Northern Irishman as a non-competing marker.
The No. 9-ranked player in the world had a 1-under-par 71, one shot more than the amateur.
“I thought he was going to be nice and three-putt the last and we would have a halve, but he beat me,” McIlroy, winner of the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship, told reporters. “He played just like he should be playing in the Masters.”
A non-competing marker is used in the tournament to help with pacing and to keep the professional’s score. Knox, who holds the course record of 61 from the members’ tees at Augusta National, has been used as a marker 10 times at the Masters.
“He obviously knows this place so well,” McIlroy said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone putt the greens as well as he does around here. He was really impressive. I was thinking of maybe getting him to read a few of my putts.”
Knox, the 2008 and 2009 Georgia Mid-Amateur Champion, is executive director of the Knox Foundation trust in Thomson, Georgia. His father, Boone Knox, was also an Augusta member. Knox didn’t speak with reporters after his round.
McIlroy, 24, had birdies on the 17th and 18th holes, and received words of encouragement from Knox heading into tomorrow’s final round. McIlroy is 3-over par for the tournament, eight shots behind leaders Bubba Watson, the 2012 champion, and Masters newcomer Jordan Spieth.
“He just told me to go out there and continue the birdie run tomorrow,” McIlroy said. “He said go out and make it two more in a row tomorrow and try to get up on the leaderboard. He was really nice.”
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