McIlroy keeps in touch with Garcia

European Tour

Rory McIlroy will tee off tied for third place on the leader board in the third round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

The Northern Irishman shares third place with Australian Marc Leishman on seven under, after shooting a one-under 69 in the opening round and 64 in Friday’s second round.

McIlroy, playing his first tournament since winning the Claret Jug in July, said the impressive form of current leader Sergio Garcia helped motivate him.

“Sergio played in front of me and I saw he kept making birdie after birdie and I thought I have to make some birdies coming in here or I am going to be way behind going into the weekend,” he told BBC.com.

“So it was nice to birdie the last couple and stay within touching distance of him.”

McIlroy carded seven birdies and one bogey at Firestone Country Club. Garcia leads the standings on 11 under after a first round 68 and a score of 61 on Friday.

Garcia’s score means he now shares the course record with Tiger Woods and Jose Maria Olazabal, who also scored 61’s in 2000 and 1990 respectively.

McIlroy’s compatriot, Graeme McDowell, is one over for the tournament and tied for 25th, after a shooting 71 and 70 in the first and second rounds.

McIlroy started the third round at 08:50, Ohio time.

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