McIlroy has six-stroke lead entering last round of British Open

  • Article by: ART SPANDER , Newsday
  • Updated: July 19, 2014 - 8:04 PM

Rory McIlroy was coming back to the field until he eagled the 16th and 18th.

– It was short, and for Rory McIlroy, oh so sweet. In a matter of minutes he threw two eagles at the field and dispelled any thought the 143rd British Open would belong to anyone else.

McIlroy’s threes on the par-5 16th and 18th holes Saturday in the third round at Royal Liverpool enabled him to leap to a six-stroke lead. Almost certainly the rest of the field is playing for second.

McIlroy started the day with a four-shot lead, but when Rickie Fowler, in the group in front of him, birdied 12 and McIlroy bogeyed the same hole, each was 12 under par. It was a dogfight, but not for long.

McIlroy, who had a 4-under-par 68, had threes on five of the final six holes, for pars at 13 and 15, for a birdie at 14 and for the eagles on 16 and 18. He made bogey on the 17th. He was in with a total of 16-under par 200, good for the six-shot lead over Fowler, who also shot 68.

“He’s definitely in control of the golf tournament right now,” Fowler said of McIlroy.

Sergio Garcia (69) and Dustin Johnson (71) are tied for a distant third at 207, while Frenchman Victor Dubuisson is at 208 and Edoardo Molinari of Italy is at 209.

Play was off both the first and 10th tees, rare for the British Open, because officials hoped to finish before thunderstorms hit the region. There was morning rain, but the heavy stuff didn’t arrive until after the final putts were holed.

McIlroy’s eagle thunder was as impressive as Mother Nature. “I heard the roar on 16,” said Garcia, ahead of McIlroy.

On the 16th McIlroy blasted a 4-iron from 252 yards to 25 feet and holed the putt for eagle. On the 18th, he hit 5-iron from 237 to 10 feet for another eagle.

“I knew I had some holes coming in that I could take advantage of,” said McIlroy, who at age 25 is ready to grab a third major, adding the British to the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA, each of which he won easily.

“I saw on 12 Rickie got within one of me, and then I bogeyed the hole and then it was tied,” McIlroy said. “But I never panicked. It was nice to be able to be able to come up with the goods when I needed them the last few holes and restore those few-shots lead.”

If he wins, McIlroy would join Jack Nicklaus and Woods as the only golfers with three major victories by age 25. While McIlroy grew up playing a parkland course in his hometown of Holywood, he got plenty of experience on the links courses of Northern Ireland and knows how to take advantage of the hard fairways and greens and avoid the deep bunkers.

“I’m comfortable leading the tournament,” he said. “This is the third night in a row that I will sleep on the lead. It helps I’ve been in this position before, and I’ve been able to convert; I’ve been able to get the job done.”

In last month’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst, Martin Kaymer had a five-shot lead after three rounds and breezed to the win.

“I think whenever you have such a big lead,” said McIlroy, “you can’t think about anyone but yourself. You have to think how you’re going to control your emotions. How you’re going to control whatever thoughts you have, trying to stay completely in the present and focus on what you need to do.”

  • related content

  • Rory McIlroy celebrated after his eagle on the 16th hole during the third day of the British Open.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Los Angeles - LP: C. Frias 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 16
San Francisco - WP: S. Romo 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 9
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 6
Washington - LP: R. Detwiler 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 3
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 4 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 3
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 2
Cincinnati 1 Top 9th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Chicago WSox 1 Bottom 7th Inning
Kansas City 5
Cleveland 2 FINAL
Houston 0
Detroit 4 Bottom 6th Inning
Minnesota 6
Milwaukee 0 Bottom 8th Inning
St. Louis 2
Seattle 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
LA Angels 0
Texas 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Oakland 0
Philadelphia 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
San Diego 0
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM


Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29




question of the day

Poll: Do you support Wednesday's decision to sideline Adrian Peterson again?

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters