Rory McIlroy still confident he can have a say at Pebble Beach on Sunday
Rory McIlroy is far from ready to throw in the towel at the US Open, despite a third-round 70 leaving him five shots off the pace.
A disappointing bogey on the very first hole after he needed four shots to reach the green set the tone for what was to be a tricky day for McIlroy, though a birdie at the sixth did manage to erase the early damage.
Eight straight pars followed before McIlroy finally moved under par for his round with his second birdie of the day at the 15th, but he would give the shot back shortly after as a result of a poor tee shot at the penultimate hole.
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 16, 2019
McIlroy was at least able to finish strongly on 18, as two superb shots gave him a two-putt from 20 feet for a closing birdie and a one-under-par 70.
That’s going to be tough position to win from for McIlroy, but the Northern Irishman is coming off a big final round and a big win at last week’s RBC Canadian Open, and if he can put together a low round on Sunday while those ahead of him fail to do so, he could still walk away with an unlikely victory.
“It’s definitely not a golf course or a golf tournament where you can go chasing,” McIlroy admitted.
“But even though I’m still a few off the lead, it’s a wonderful opportunity for me to go out there and try to add to my major tally.
“I’ve been very pleased with how I’ve played all week. I felt for the most part today I did the right things and I need to do 18 more holes of that, but just get a little bit more out of the round tomorrow than I did today. I’m expecting the conditions to be similar, but I could see the course just getting a little firmer and a little faster and just being a touch trickier.”
Sunday’s final round will be a delicate balancing act for McIlroy. He has to try and make birdies, but he’s wary of coming out too aggressive on the opening holes.
“You can’t put yourself under pressure to have a crack at those holes, you’ve just got to let it happen,” he said.
“There are going to be a few decisions to be made. Those first seven holes you can get some momentum going and you can play them in three or four under, and that’s where the real meat of the golf course starts.
“I’m going to take it as it comes. Yes, I’d love to play those holes in a few under and get myself right in the thick of things, but I can’t put myself under pressure to do that because you’ve just got to let it happen.”
Hole-in-one helps Tom McKibbin make strong start in South Africa
The 19-year-old holed out with a five iron from 232 yards on the 11th hole.
A nice birdie-fest – Tiger Woods expecting low scoring Hero World Challenge
Woods withdrew on Monday due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Adam Scott relishing chance to experience a career first at the Australian Open
The tournament sees men, women and golfers with disabilities competing on the same course at the same time.
Tiger Woods backs up Rory McIlroy and says LIV Golf boss Greg Norman ‘has to go’
Woods called McIlroy a ‘true leader’ as he spoke out about the Saudi-funded breakaway.
Tiger Woods withdraws from Hero World Challenge due to foot problem
The former world number one has not played since the Open Championship in July.
Tiger Woods to partner son Charlie in next month’s PNC Championship
Woods has not played since the Open Championship in July.
I want to fulfil my dreams – Adam Scott in no mood to lower expectations
Scott is seeking a third Australian PGA Championship title this week in his native Queensland.
Nicolas Colsaerts named a vice-captain for Europe’s Ryder Cup team
The Belgian joins Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari on Luke Donald’s staff.
Ireland’s Ancient East: Golf attractions alongside stunning beauty of Kildare
Ireland has a rich mix of tourist attractions across its varied and beautiful terrain.
Rory McIlroy crowned top golfer in Europe despite Jon Rahm claiming Dubai title
The Spaniard’s two-shot victory over England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Sweden’s Alex Noren was his third in six years at Jumeirah Golf Estates.