Ewen Murray reflects on a mixed day for Rory McIlroy at the BMW PGA Championship and looks ahead to the final round at Wentworth.
Scrappy was probably the best word to describe McIlroy today. He started off perfectly and had a birdie chance at the first, like he had the previous two days, but failed to make the most of it.
The tee shot at the third probably unnerved him a little as it was a long way off-line, then another followed at the sixth. Great players are able to erase those slides though and that’s exactly what McIlroy did.
McIlroy throttled back and played a little bit more conservatively, knowing that the birdies could come late on. That birdie at the last, after what was a very poor tee shot, has got him alongside Francesco Molinari and where he wants to be in the final group.
Sam Horsfield was playing alongside him and it didn’t surprise me how he performed, I fully expected it. Ian Poulter told me about someone with good temperament and course management.
He was playing this kind of occasion for the first time, yet still made five birdies in his last eight holes. The pressure of Qualifying School last year would have been greater than what he felt today, but when that round was slipping away his class shone through.
For me, Molinari’s 66 was the best round of the week because of the breeze we had out there. I think it is going to be a thrilling confrontation on Sunday between two very different players.
We have one who likes to play full throttle and the other who prefers to play positional golf. The weather will affect how aggressive McIlroy can be, but I’m not sure he is a great safe player. Molinari is, but having said he’s not one of the top aggressive players and I know McIlroy is!
McIlroy came back from a long way when he won in 2014 and Noren finished more than two hours before the final group when he won last. Strange things can happen on this golf course and a two-shot lead coming down the stretch isn’t that comfortable.
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You can’t discount some of the others as well and there are a lot of other players in contention. There’s much to look forward to on Sunday.
Watch the final round of the BMW PGA Championship live on Sunday from 11am on Sky Sports Golf and 1pm on Sky Sports Main Event.