Hovland and McIlroy tied for the lead in St. Andrews
Rory McIlroy starts at the British Open by lifting the crowds in St. Andrews with spectacular shots on Saturday. He took another step toward a first major title in eight years.
Yet, McIlroy will have to win in the final round as he is tied with Norwegian star Viktor Hovland. They each handed over a 66 (minus-6) card and took a priority of four shots on the closest pursuers.
Cameron Smith has started the day with a two-shot lead. And played a double bogey at the 13th pennant after attempting a complex pit maneuver.
Cameron Young hit the ball over the green on the 16th hole and eventually had to settle for a double bogey.
Smith (73) and Young (71) currently have 204 shots and share the third tier at minus(-) 12.
Dustin Johnson has not been spared among the long list of golfers who have struggled. He slipped six shots from the leaders.
McIlroy and Hovland have completed the first three rounds in 200 shots (minus-16). They both were able to avoid the traps during the day.
Hovland managed two 40-foot rolled shots in a row for four birdies on the first nine. McIlroy joined the Norwegian in the lead when he got a spectacular eagle on the 10th hole. He hit the ball 80 feet from the sand pit. Seeing that the crowd was jubilant.
McIlroy lifted his hat to Woods the day before when he started the second round. Woods eventually missed the cut and may have crossed the Swilcan Bridge for one last time.
Tiger Woods has been the figurehead of the sport for decades. Now it seems he passes the torch to McIlroy. McIlroy received strong support from the crowd throughout the day.
“I love having so much support,” McIlroy admitted. But, I have to keep a cool head and try to play a good round of golf. I hope that will be enough.
The Northern Irishman’s only mistake came at the 17th pennant when he fell victim to a bogey.
For his part, Hovland did not commit a bugy in Saturday’s round. He demonstrated his magic on the 17th hole when he recovered from a bad posture to get normal.
McIlroy’s last major title came in 2014 at the PGA Championship in Valhalla.
“Every aspect of my game has been on point this week,” McIlroy said. I just have to stay the course for another day.
Corey Conners, the only Canadian golfer, still competing at the British Open. He handed in a third consecutive 71 card to find himself at minus-3 overall.
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