Magical McIlroy easing to victory
Published 19/06/2011 | 10:37
Despite everything that stablemate Lee Westwood could throw at him - a brilliant 65, no less - Rory McIlroy remains poised to become the youngest winner of the US Open since Bobby Jones in 1923.
The 22-year-old from Co Down will take an incredible eight-shot lead over Korean YE Yang into the final round at Congressional. McIlroy continued his record-breaking week, his three-under-par 68 taking him to 199, 14 under, and therefore knocking one off the previous lowest three-round aggregate in the event.
Westwood and Australian Jason Day are one further back in third with American Robert Garrigus, Westwood after a remarkable climbed up from 84th after his opening 75.
McIlroy, having already established the lowest halfway total in the championship's history with rounds of 65 and 66 despite finishing his second round with a double bogey, did well to get through the first four holes in level par.
On the third he had to play a 100-yard pitch to three feet after chipping out of the rough and on the next he was bunkered by the green, but splashed out to a foot.
A 12-footer at the fifth was the boost he wanted, but finding more rough meant he had to settle for pars at the reachable par five sixth and almost driveable eighth.
With others going birdie crazy finding the green in two at the long ninth was a real settler for him, but it had nothing on what came at the 494-yard 11th.
On the hole before he had failed to get up and down from the back bunker for his first bogey of the week and driving into rough down the next raised the pressure bar.
But, fortunate to get a decent lie, he hit a towering iron to 14 feet, read it beautifully and gave a fist-pump that said a lot.
It gave him renewed belief that this is going to be the greatest week of his career so far and an approach to five feet three holes later took him nine clear and to 14 under, previously unchartered territory a tournament renowned as the toughest major.