Rory McIlroy opened up on making a wish come true for a young golf fan after he moved to within striking distance of the lead at the Irish Open.
McIlroy began the third round eight strokes behind leaders Shubhankar Sharma and Jordan Smith.
The 34-year-old followed up his second round 69 with a 6-under 66 at The K Club on Saturday.
He began the day with a birdie at No. 1 before picking up another stroke at No. 4 alongside seven steady pars to turn in 2-under.
On the back nine, he birdied 10, 12 and 13 before coming unstuck at the par-5 16th.
The four-times major champion attempted to try and hit the green in two shots but his approach found a watery grave.
He was able to bounce back from the bogey and birdied his final two holes to move to 11-under for the championship.
McIlroy won this event in 2016 when he was 27 years old. Memorably, he converted an eagle on the 72nd hole for that win.
McIlroy wowed the crowd with that memorable approach from 253 yards seven years ago and was struggling not to cry.
McIlroy will have to wait to see how many strokes he is behind the lead as German's Hurly Long, Scotland's Calum Hill and the aforementioned Smith were still out on the course at 12-under with holes to play.
"[I played] much better," McIlroy told Sky Sports. "I knew I needed to put balls in play off the tee which I did for the most part.
"I played par-5s well apart from 16 [but] I gave myself plenty of looks [and I am] really pleased to bounce back."
McIlroy said he felt as if he needed to go lower but he was pleased to see the leaders not running away from the field.
Earlier in the week McIlroy made a wish come true for a young fan.
Seven-year-old Michael is living with a brain tumour and all he wanted was a personalised video from McIlroy.
McIlroy took things up a notch:
Of that, he said: "I took 15 minutes out of my day, it's not as if I did that much, but hopefully [the impact is there].
"I was delighted to be able to do it, it makes you feel very fortunate for Erica and I to have a healthy little girl."
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