Wilson leads as McIlroy surges

European Tour

Oliver Wilson wrestled back the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship lead on Saturday – but Rory McIlroy is lurking.

Wilson led after the first round, relinquished the advantage on Friday, and now finds himself in front again after posting a flawless round of 65 on the Old Course at St Andrews to take his total to 15 under par.

The Englishman is a nine-time runner-up on the European Tour and has a great chance to finally break his duck as he takes a three-shot lead into Sunday’s final round.

Unfortunately, he will have to contend with World No 1 Rory McIlroy, who charged up the leaderboard on Saturday courtesy of a eight-under-par 64.

McIlroy lies tied-second on 12 under, three off the pace alongside Tommy Fleetwood, whose 62 was the low round of the day, Alexander Levy and Raphael Jacquelin.

The Northern Irishman’s round could have been even better but for a bogey at the 15th. He played his last four holes in one over par – not what he would have been expecting.

Chris Wood shot a 66 to lie on 11 under alongside Ryan Palmer and Richie Ramsay.

“I’ll be nervous,” admitted leader Wilson. “It’s a big day for me. Last year I got off to a great start here and kind of fizzled out.

“But the way I played the last two days, I left so many putts out there and I’m still at the top. So that gives me a lot of belief, but tomorrow will be a very different day. But that’s what we play golf for, to get in those situations and test yourself. I am looking forward to it.

“I’ve had the belief for a while, I’ve just needed a little bit of adrenaline to be honest. I’ve been flat all year for various reasons and to get the opportunity to come here and play is very nice and I guess I come to a tournament like this with a bit more dynamism.”

McIlroy said: “I got off to a really fast start and was trying to keep it going, and I sort of did through the turn, but the last four holes weren’t really what I wanted.

“But any time you shoot a score like that around St Andrews, you have to be happy. I got myself into contention going into tomorrow and my dad (his amateur partner) and I are going to get to play St Andrews on his 55th birthday tomorrow which will be a huge treat for both of us.

“Shooting a 59 never really crossed my mind. What did cross my mind was wanting to beat my previous best score round here of 63 (in the first round of the 2010 Open).”

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