Rory's brilliant front nine included two big strokes of luck

Rory McIlroy gets the crowd pumped up after draining an eagle on the eighth hole during the third round at the Masters. (AP Photo)

At least on the front nine on Saturday, Rory McIlroy has been as lucky as he is talented.

While still searching for his first green jacket, McIlroy has taken full advantage of moving day through the first half of the course as he’s soared up the leaderboard thanks, in part, to two of the more wildly absurd shots you’ll see all weekend.

Over on No. 5, a massive mistake while trying to escape a sand trap turned into a huge advantage as McIlroy skipped his shot up the side of the bunker with enough force and front spin to keep it rolling. And rolling. And rolling. Over a few slopes, down a hill and finally coming to a rest just a two yards or so shy of the cup.

That look on Rory’s face says it all. He just got away with a crime at Augusta National and he knows it. McIlroy would clean up for par after missing his birdie shot but his luck carried over for a few more holes.

On No. 6, McIlroy attacked the par three from the tee box and dropped a shot right next to the pin that allowed him to convert for birdie.

Then things got more ridiculous.

After slicing his second shot to the far right of the green on No. 8, McIlroy set up for a short chip shot that even the announcers felt was impossible, saying he had no line at the pin.

Well, about that…

That was good for an eagle and dropped his score to -9 overall and -5 on the day. Which is exactly where the four-time major champion found himself at the turn.

There’s still plenty of golf to be played in Georgia, but if McIlroy is going to keep finding shots like these to hit, it’s going to be hard for anyone to one-up him.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Devil Ball Golf on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!