McIlroy shoots 62, leads by 1
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Nobody likes missing the cut by a stroke, and doing it in a major championship at home hurts even more.
Rory McIlroy is showing he can bounce back quickly.
McIlroy shot an 8-under 62 on Saturday in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational to take a onestroke lead over Brooks Koepka at the World Golf Championships event.
McIlroy, who missed the cut by a stroke last week in the British Open on his home turf in Northern Ireland, had a nine-birdie, one-bogey round to move from a tie for 17th to the top of the leaderboard at TPC Southwind. The man who shattered the screen of a woman’s cellphone with his opening tee shot at Royal Portrush finished the round Saturday with three straight birdies.
“I guess the pressure’s off a little bit,” McIlroy said.
“You’ve had a bad week and you go to the next week and you say, ‘OK I didn’t do this well, I didn’t do this well.’ So you’re sort of trying to focus on that rather than winning the tournament. So for me, this week I wanted to focus on neutralizing my ball flight and trying to dial in my distances. All of a sudden those two little focus points have made me play some good golf again.”
McIlroy capped his birdie spurt by rolling in a 27-footer on the par-4 18th for the lead to himself after putting his tee shot into a fairway bunker. He had a 12-under 198 total.
Two groups behind McIlroy, Koepka (64) had his chances. The world’s top-ranked player finished with three straight pars. Now Koepka and McIlroy, who played the first two rounds together, will play together Sunday for the first time in a final round.
Second-round leader Matthew Fitzpatrick (69) was third, two strokes back. Marc Leishman (63), Alex Noren (66) and Jon Rahm (68) were three shots behind.
“It is exciting,” McIlroy said. “He’s the No. 1 player in the world, four majors in the last three years. He’s the man right now. I got to play with him the last couple days and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing what he can do.”
Koepka says Sunday should be fun duking it out with McIlroy with so much on the line.
Hyo Joo Kim fires 3rdround 65 to lead Evian major by 1 shot
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France — Cresting a wave of South Koreans atop the Evian Championship leaderboard Saturday, Hyo Joo Kim fired a third-round 65 to move one shot clear on 15-under 198. Kim’s latest impressive round of majors golf did not quite match her very first — a record 61 here as a teenager five years ago when she took the title in her elite debut.
Top-ranked Sung Hyun Park closed the gap in second by making a birdie on the par-5 18th for a 5-under 66 on the hillside course overlooking Lake Geneva.
Four shots back in a tie for third place were seven-time major winner Inbee Park (69) and Jin Young Ko (66), the world No. 2 who won the season’s first major, the ANA Inspiration, in April.
“I really think this golf course suits Korean players because all the golf courses in Korea are built in the mountain,” Inbee Park said. “We are really used to the undulations and the lies that we get.”
Play started early in cooler conditions and finished at 2:15 p.m. local time (1215 GMT) just as a forecast stormy downpour dumped rain on Evian Resort Golf Club. Sunday’s forecast calls for persistent rain and a temperature drop of about 16 Celsius (30 degrees F).
UP BY ONE Rory McIlroy celebrates on the 18th green to give him the lead during the third round of the World Golf ChampionshipsFedEx St. Jude Invitational on Saturday in Memphis, Tenn.