Sport Golf

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Rory McIlroy hits the front at WGC-HSBC Champions in China after third consecutive 67

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland shakes hands with his caddy after finishing the 18th hole during day three of the HSBC Champions golf tournament held at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. McIlroy spun a wedge down to 3 feet for birdie on his final hole for a clean card at a 5-under 67, giving him a one-shot lead over Louis Oosthuizen on a Saturday of big runs and ugly collapses. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland shakes hands with his caddy after finishing the 18th hole during day three of the HSBC Champions golf tournament held at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. McIlroy spun a wedge down to 3 feet for birdie on his final hole for a clean card at a 5-under 67, giving him a one-shot lead over Louis Oosthuizen on a Saturday of big runs and ugly collapses. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Rory McIlroy claimed the outright lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China with a third successive five-under round of 67.

McIlroy closed day two one shot behind Matthew Fitzpatrick but capitalised as the Englishman slipped from the top of the leaderboard on Saturday, finishing with a birdie to head into the final round with a one-stroke advantage over Louis Oosthuizen, who shot 65.

For the second day running McIlroy hit the turn in 33, but he went bogey-free for the first time this week and added two birdies on the back nine.

Oosthuizen opened his round with five birdies in pursuit of a maiden World Golf Championships title, while Fitzpatrick dropped to third, two shots off McIlroy alongside Xander Schauffele of the United States.

England's Paul Waring is a shot further back in fifth.

Despite holding the lead, McIlroy saw plenty of room for improvement in his round.

"I feel like I weathered a mini-storm at the start," he said. "After that, the round started to get going and I hit some good shots and held some good putts.

"But I gave myself plenty of chances - a lot of chances from between 15 and 20 feet, so you're not expecting to hole all of them - but I hit a lot of good putts today that didn't go in.

"I stayed patient, I birdied the holes that I needed to birdie and I built a very gradual round. No bogeys, which was nice, but just kept plugging away trying to give myself chances.

"If I go out tomorrow and replicate what I've done the first three days, I think I'll be pretty hard to beat."

PA Media

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