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'Honestly, I am just glad to be here' - McIlroy charges into Memorial mix to boost PGA hopes

The 29-year-old recorded an eight-under par 64 in the third round of the Memorial tournament on Saturday.

McIlroy pictured at the Memorial Tournament on Saturday.
McIlroy pictured at the Memorial Tournament on Saturday.
Image: Sam Greenwood

RORY MCILROY BOOSTED hopes of a second US PGA Tour victory this season with a sizzling eight-under par 64 in the third round of the Memorial tournament on Saturday.

The effort was McIlroy’s lowest score since a final-round 64 en route to victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando in March, when the County Down star ended an 18-month US tour victory drought.

McIlroy will still have work to do on Sunday. Starting the third round at even par, he leap-frogged 64 places.

But his clubhouse lead on eight-under was still three shots off the 36-hole lead shared by red-hot Chilean teenager Joaquin Niemann and American Kyle Stanley, who had yet to tee off when McIlroy finished.

But it was a marked turnaround after a day when McIlroy looked to be heading home early after scores of 74 and 70.

Having squeezed into the weekend, the four-time major winner grabbed his opportunity with both hands, eagling the fifth hole with a 38-foot bunker shot and adding six birdies — including three in a row from the 11th hole.

“Honestly, I am just glad to be here and just get a couple more rounds before going to the US Open as it was touch-and-go whether or not if I would make the cut,” he said.

“When I finished my second round I thought even par was easily going to get in but then once the guys went back out after the rain delay it seemed like the conditions were very benign and guys couldn’t stop making birdies.

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“So, it was a bit of an edgy late afternoon, early evening but it was nice to be here for the weekend.”

The Memorial is McIlroy’s last tournament before the US Open tees off at Shinnecock Hills on New York’s Long Island on June 14.

He said he has some things to iron out before the year’s second major.

“Over the last few weeks I’ve played rounds of golf like this, but I’ve also played rounds of golf where it’s been pretty average,” he said. “The good’s very good and the bad — I need to get that a little bit better.

“If I could produce four days of golf at Shinnecock like I did today, then, yeah, I’m ready. But I’ve got a little bit of work to do just to get a bit more consistency in there.”

© – AFP 2018

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