Rory McIlroy charged up The Memorial leaderboard with a stunning eight-under 64 featuring a hole-out for eagle and a close-call for a hole-in-one.
Rory McIlroy put his frustrations of the first two rounds behind him as he surged into contention with a stunning eight-under 64 early on day three at The Memorial.
McIlroy dropped two shots at par-fives late in his second round that left him facing an anxious wait to see if he had made the halfway cut, and his 36-hole score of level par proved just enough to get him in for the weekend.
And he took full advantage of his reprieve, evoking memories of his remarkable weekend charge to the Wells Fargo Championship title in 2010 as he carded six birdies while also holing a bunker escape at the fifth for a bonus eagle.
When McIlroy got up-and-down from sand to save par at the last, he found himself just three strokes off the lead before the final groups had began their third rounds, and he can look forward to a much later tee-time on Sunday.
“Honestly, I am just glad to be here and just get a couple more rounds before going to the US Open as it was touch-and-go whether or not if I would make the cut,” said McIlroy afterwards.
Rory McIlroy reflects on his superb third-round 64 at The Memorial and is happy with the chance to get two more rounds under his belt before the US Open.
“When I finished my second round I thought even par was easily going to get in, but then once the guys went back out after the rain delay it seemed like the conditions were very benign and guys couldn’t stop making birdies. So, it was a bit of an edgy late afternoon, early evening but it was nice to be here for the weekend.
“Over the last few weeks I’ve played rounds of golf like this, but I’ve also played rounds of golf where it’s been pretty average. The good’s very good and the bad – well, I need to get that a little bit better.
“If I could produce four days of golf at Shinnecock like I did today, then, yeah, I’m ready. But I’ve got a little bit of work to do just to get a bit more consistency in there.”
McIlroy’s all-round game was in good order from the outset, and he converted birdie putts from six and eight feet at the second and third before his perfect splash-out from the sand at the long fifth arced into the cup.
The 29-year-old picked up another shot at the seventh, although he lipped out from five feet for another at the ninth before atoning with a composed par-save from similar range to avoid starting the back nine with a bogey.
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McIlroy got to six under for the round at the long 11th, and he came within inches of spinning his tee shot into the hole at the next before he found the target from just inside 30 feet for his third consecutive birdie at 13.
He did miss two further good chances from inside 10 feet on the next two greens, but he parred safely in to revive his prospects of a second PGA Tour win of the season and cap a huge confidence-boosting round just two weeks ahead of the second major of the year.