9 Apr 2012

Woods and McIlroy struggle, Van Pelt thrives at Augusta

7:12 am on 9 April 2012

American Bo Van Pelt made a hole-in-one as some of the early starters thrived at the US Masters in Augusta this morning while Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy slipped out of contention.

Four-times winner Woods was four over for the tournament after mixing three bogeys with two birdies in the first 13 holes to lie level with Northern Irishman McIlroy, who was three over for the day.

With five holes to play, the 14-times major champion was tied for 39th, a distant 13 strokes off the lead, and well outside his previous worst performance of joint 22nd at the 2004 Masters.

Van Pelt took advantage of the traditionally tempting last-day pin positions at Augusta by firing a best-of-the-week, eight-under-par 64, one stroke short of the Masters record.

Pacesetting Swede Peter Hanson, nine under, and second-placed Phil Mickelson are preparing for a mid-afternoon teeoff.

The 76th Masters is poised for another gripping finale with Hanson being chased by eight players within five shots of his lead, three of them previous major winners.

Fan favourite Mickelson, hunting a fourth green jacket, was alone in second after electrifying the fans at Augusta National with a scintillating 66 on day three.

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, runaway winner of the 2010 British Open, was a further stroke back at seven under with triple major champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland tied for sixth at four under.