McIlroy: An opportunity lost

Rory McIlroy admitted he has little chance of winning The Open after a disappointing third round at Royal Birkdale on Saturday.

McIlroy failed to build on a good start that saw him birdie three of the first five holes, eventually finishing with a round of one-under 69 to leave him nine shots back of leader Jordan Spieth.

"It's hard to think 'big picture' now, I'm just off the golf course and I'm a little disappointed," said the Ulsterman.

"I definitely feel like today was an opportunity lost to get right in the mix going into tomorrow.

"I've always been good when I get off to fast starts being able to keep it going, and I didn't today. And I needed to, that's the disappointing thing.

"I need to pick myself up, play a good round tomorrow, hope for some bad weather, hope for some guys to struggle and we'll see what happens.

"Just play a good round of golf and see where that finishes me, I guess. Just go out there and play well and try to limit the mistakes, and get off to a fast start again like I've done the last couple of days and just try to keep it going."

McIlroy, 28, is without a win since September last year and struggled with back and rib injuries earlier this year, but said he feels he is almost back to his best.

"It's almost there, but still just a few sloppy swings," McIlroy added.

"The swing on seven, 153 yards to the pin and you miss it that far left. Just stuff like that.

"Left pins are a bit of a struggle right now. I'm trying to trust what I'm doing and trust my swing and I did there. I felt like I made a good swing and I looked up and the ball was about 10 yards left of where I wanted it to be.

"It's getting there. As I said, it's nearly there. It's not quite where I need it to be to win the biggest golf tournaments in the world. But it's getting there."