Rory McIlroy's major drought looks like it will extend into a 10th year after a frustrating third round at the 2023 Open Championship left him with a mountain to climb if he is to lift the claret jug.
Roared on by a huge crowd, McIlroy started his third round perfectly at Royal Liverpool by splitting the first fairway.
The Northern Irishman, 34, duly sank his birdie putt from 10ft 5ins to move to 2-under for the championship.
A Rory roar.— The Open (@TheOpen) July 22, 2023
The atmosphere is palpable as McIlroy makes the perfect start. pic.twitter.com/AZvorX0Y0I
He missed another golden opportunity at the very next hole, his birdie attempt from from 9ft missing low.
McIlroy brushed off that miss and picked up strokes No. 3 and No. 5 and four consecutive pars followed which saw him turn in 32.
The back nine was a tale of frustration for the Ulsterman. He missed the green left at 10 and had to scramble to save his par. It was a similar tale at No. 11.
His first blip of the day came at the par-4 12th. McIlroy missed his tee shot left again and, despite hitting the putting surface with his second he was frustrated to see his golf ball roll off the green.
He chose to try and play his greenside chip high but his TP5x failed to roll out as he would've liked, leaving himself 19ft to save par.
After that bogey, McIlroy made six consecutive pars to post a third round of 2-under 69 to leave himself at 3-under for the championship.
McIlroy even missed another makeable birdie putt at the last, capping off another frustrating day in major championship golf.
Remarkably, he leads the field in strokes gained off the tee, ranks fifth in strokes gained approaching the green, but is 111th in strokes gained: putting.
Only 76 players made the cut this week, so that means McIlroy ranks worse in putting than half of those who already went home.
After deciding not to do any media interviews, McIlroy headed straight to the putting green at Royal Liverpool.
Harman's round of 69 saw him reach 12-under for the championship, with Young his nearest challenger. Tommy Fleetwood posted a round of 1-over par.
It is the largest 54-hole lead in an Open championship since McIlroy played - and won - here in 2014.
Open Championship 2023 info:
- The Open Championship field
- The Open Championship tee times
- The Open Championship odds
- LIV Golf players in the field
- Streaming information
- How to watch
- Prize money information
- Exemption categories
- Players who are exempt but not competing
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- McIlroy snubs media duties (again!)
- Feature: Oliver Wilson interview
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- Paige Spiranac weighs in on enduring debate
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- Jon Rahm backs PGA Tour boss
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- McIlroy finally speaks to the media!
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- Tiger arrives at The Open
- Pat Reed blasts merger
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- Par-3 17th claims first victim!
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- Wyndham Clark hits spectator's iPad
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