MATERS GOLF: Rory McIlroy fully focused on task ahead in final round of The Masters

Rory McIlroy celebrates an eagle during the third round of The Masters
Rory McIlroy celebrates an eagle during the third round of The Masters

Rory McIlroy fired a brilliant third round of 65 at Augusta on Saturday to put him right in contention for The Masters.

He trailed overnight leader Patrick Reed by three shots going into Sunday's final round.

The Masters is the only Major to elude the Northern Ireland golfer to date.

Reed had a chance to have a four-shot lead going into the final round, but he missed a putt for birdie on the last of what was also an impressive round of 67 on the day, to leave him 14 under for the tournament.

In a compelling third round, Reed responded to the challenge of Ryder Cup rival McIlroy in spectacular fashion to take command of the 82nd Masters.

McIlroy wiped out his five-shot overnight deficit with a front nine of 31 which contained three birdies and an eagle on the eighth.

But Reed, who beat McIlroy in the opening singles match of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, hit back with three birdies in succession from the eighth and two eagles in the space of three holes on the back nine to open up a five-shot lead.

McIlroy birdied the final hole to finish the third round on 11 under, three shots behind leader Reed who could only par the last.

McIlroy said of his round: "It was really special.

"I went off today a little tight. Even though I was a few behind I knew I needed a good round to get me in with a chance going into tomorrow.

"I rode my luck a couple of times out there. You need to have luck on your side at times."

Having faced Reed in past Ryder Cup matches, McIlroy said he would draw on his experience of leading majors when he plays with the American during Sunday's final round.

"I know what it's like to be in that position, especially if it is your first time," McIlroy added.