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Rory McIlroy shot a 77 on Saturday to leave his Masters challenge in tatters. Photo by: Google Images

Rory McIlroy gets a hug from rival Sergio Garcia as his Masters dream dies a horrible death

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Rory McIlroy shot a 77 on Saturday to leave his Masters challenge in tatters. Photo by: Google Images

Rory McIlroy was at a loss to explain his latest Masters collapse – even after a hug from Spanish golfer Serio Garcia DURING their third round at Augusta.

A year after he blew a four shot lead in the final round of golf’s greatest tournament, McIlroy was blown out of contention on the Saturday and not the Sunday this year.

A disastrous six dropped shots in his first eight holes of the third round quickly put paid to his hopes of a second major and a first green jacket.

Garcia, who also saw his title hopes evaporate on Saturday, even threw his arms around McIlroy in an emotional hug on the 12th green after both players had finally managed a birdie on a day when they moved in the wrong direction.

The Ulsterman, US Open champion four weeks after his Masters collapse last year, is now 10 shots behind leader Peter Hanson after Saturday’s 77.

“I think we were both needing it,” said McIlroy when asked to explain the Garcia hug. “We both didn’t have our best stuff with us.

“We needed to feel a little love from someone out there. It was a nice moment in a round filled with not-too-good moments.’’

Spaniard Garcia said: “It would have been better if it were our girlfriends, but that was the best we could get at the moment.”

With new partner Caroline Wozniacki watching online back in Denmark, McIlroy relied on Garcia to keep his spirits up on a tough day at office.

As they left the left the 18th green with their green jacket hopes gone, the pair were at least in good humour.

Still laughing at his press conference, McIlroy added to reporters: “If you can’t laugh at yourself who can you laugh at?”

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