Magical McIlroy goes low to lead FedEx St.Jude

Rory McIlroy surged up the leaderboard thanks to a sensational third round at the World Golf Championship FedEx St.Jude Invitational on Saturday.

The Northern Irishman carded an exceptional eight under 62 around TPC Southwind to move to 12 under for the WGC event, one ahead of the chasing Brooks Koepka.

Starting the day in back in T17, McIlroy found 14 out of 18 greens in regulation and had but one error when he found the water off the tee on the par four 12th, where he managed to salvage a bogey. Otherwise, he rolled in nine birdies, including a 20 footer on the final hole that delighted the gallery.

McIlroy missed the cut at the Open last week by one stroke, capping off two days he’d rather forget. Being his ‘home’ Open at Portrush, there was much riding on his shoulders and it showed in his very first shot, which he hooked out of bounds amongst the bemused crowd.

This week, however, it’s an entirely different story.

“I guess the pressure’s off a little bit,” the 30-year-old told ESPN.

“You’ve had a bad week and you go to the next week and you say, ‘OK I didn’t do this well, I didn’t do this well.’ So you’re sort of trying to focus on that rather than winning the tournament. So for me, this week I wanted to focus on neutralizing my ball flight and trying to dial in my distances. All of a sudden those two little focus points have made me play some good golf again.”

Meanwhile, Koepka is looking forward to a Sunday showdown with his European adversary.

“That’s who you want to go up against, especially if he’s going to be playing this good,” quipped the American.

Further down the leaderboard, Matthew Fitzpatrick is alone in third on ten under, while Marc Leishman, Alex Noren and Jon Rahm – who’s making a habit of hanging out near the top of the leaderboard – are locked on nine under three shots off the pace.