HomeNewsCanadian Open: Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood & Justin Rose two off lead

Canadian Open: Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood & Justin Rose two off lead

Rory McIlroy plays a shot during the third round of the Canadian Open
McIlroy won last year’s Canadian Open by two strokes
-14 CT Pan (Twn); -12 R McIlroy (NI), T Fleetwood (Eng), J Rose (Eng), M Hubbard (US), H Higgs (US), A Novak (US); -11 N Taylor (US), A Rai (Eng)
Selected others:-10 C Conners (Can); -8 T Hatton (Eng); -6 M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -5 S Lowry (Ire)
Full leaderboard

Rory McIlroy stepped up his bid for a third successive Canadian Open title by moving into a tie for second place heading into the final round.

The Northern Irishman’s six-under-par 66 in Toronto left him two shots behind leader CT Pan of Taiwan.

McIlroy is in a group of six players on 12 under which includes England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose.

Americans Mark Hubbard, Harry Higgs and Andrew Novak are also on 12 under, with England’s Aaron Rai a stroke back.

Rai shot a 69 to share eighth place with Canada’s Nick Taylor, who broke the Oakdale Golf and Country Club course record with a 63.

McIlroy is aiming to become the first player to win three consecutive Canadian Opens – played over five years because of Covid cancellations – and the first in any PGA Tour event since Steve Stricker won the John Deere Classic from 2009 to 2011.

McIlroy carded six birdies in improved conditions after Friday’s rain.

“It was prime for scoring,” said McIlroy, who will attempt to win a second US Open in Los Angeles next week.

“It’s really that back nine you need to take advantage of. But it was nice to sort of have what I felt was a cushion after playing the front nine so well.”

Last week the PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced a shock merger with LIV Golf, which is funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

McIlroy, who has been a critic of LIV Golf, said he felt like “a sacrificial lamb” since the announcement.

“For whatever reason, I seem to play better when there’s a little bit of noise going on in the world of golf,” he said.

“It’s really nice to get inside the ropes and just concentrate on my job at the end of the day, which is trying to get the ball around the golf course.”

Rose, who won the US Open 10 years ago, birdied five straight holes from the 12th and added another on the last to card a 66, while Fleetwood – yet to win a tournament in the US – would have matched the course record with his 64 had it not been for Taylor’s brilliant earlier round.

Pan, chasing a second tour title, birdied the final two holes in a round of 66, while halfway leader Carl Yuan of China shot a 74 to slip into joint 16th on seven under.

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