Rory McIlroy leads Irish Open by three ahead of final round

Knox shared second place with Wales’s Bradley Dredge. You pick your target, you make a good committed swing and, thankfully, it worked out for me. “It’s very frustrating and I’m actually putting incredibly to still be in this tournament”. “Hopefully I can take this form into the summer”.

“It all just sort of hit me”, he confided.

The World Number Three will return to the 16th hole at 7.30am local time on Sunday morning to complete his third round, as will overnight leader Willett, who dropped back to six under par after mixing three bogeys with one birdie in his 15 holes.

Spieth is trying to pull off a comeback victory after missing the cut in the previous week’s Players Championship and suffering a last-day meltdown at the Masters, where a back-nine fade cost him a second consecutive Green Jacket.

In the forty-five minute period between the breaks, McIlroy managed to extend his advantage at the top of the leaderboard to three shots after waiting to hole for birdie on the 10th.

However, McIlroy pushed back and with just two holes left to play, he had established a two shot lead.

McIlroy looked in danger of squandering his three-stroke lead at the start of Sunday’s final round as Knox, playing alongside him, putted impressively while McIlroy wasted opportunity after opportunity on the greens, including a miss for bogey from barely two feet on the par-4 11th hole.

That approach to the 18th though……

England’s Matthew Southgate, who regained his European Tour card via the qualifying school after undergoing treatment for testicular cancer previous year, carded a closing 68 to finish fourth, the best finish of his career.

“The Irish Open is one of the most important tournaments of my year and I’d dearly love to win it one day”.

“I was getting feedback that people around the 16th green were complaining how dark it was getting and then on the 17th tee what with all the trees surrounding the green”, McIlroy said.

He played like a champion today.. I didn’t quite think I’d end up with my three (on the 18th) but I thought I still had a chance so I stayed as patient as I possibly could.

“I’m excited. I kept telling anyone that would listen that I was close”, he added. “And now I feel my game is ready to kick on from here, with three Majors, the Olympics, The Ryder Cup and the rest of the Race to Dubai still to be played”.

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