Rory McIlroy carded a third consecutive round of 67 to take a one shot lead into the final day of the WGC-HSBC Champions.
The World Number Two is going in search of a third World Golf Championships title and he was bogey free in moving to 15 under and edging one clear of Louis Oosthuizen.
The South African has a Claret Jug in his trophy collection but has never won a WGC event – losing out in the final of the WGC-Dell Match Play three years ago.
A victory for McIlroy would be his first European Tour triumph since 2016 and see him join just Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson in having won three of the four WGC events. The Northern Irishman won his second and latest WGC event in 2015 and since then has had nine top tens in the tournaments, including a fourth top five at Sheshan International Golf Club in 2016.
“I probably played the best today that I’ve played all week,” said McIlroy, in an ominous warning to the field.
“I drove the ball well. Hitting my irons pretty good for the most part. I feel like I didn’t quite get as much out of the round as I could have but I’m not going to complain. I’m in the lead going into tomorrow, so just need to rest up and try to get out there and play another good, solid round of golf.
“I keep saying, I think my consistency this year, I’ve been able to take that to another level to what I’ve been able to do previously. Right now, the game feels pretty simple. I know that it’s not going to feel like that all the time, but when it does, you have to take advantage of that feeling. I’ve given myself another opportunity to win a very big golf tournament, a tournament that I’ve never won before.
“I want to go out there and be committed, play aggressively, and shoot a good number. I took a lot from the win in Canada earlier this year. I went out tied for the lead, and I just said from the start, I’m going to keep my foot down and I’m going to go for everything. It was a good lesson that when you do have something right there, in front of you, a tournament to win or something to achieve, you just have to grab it with both hands, and that’s what I’ll do tomorrow.”
England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick and defending champion Xander Schauffele were at 13 under, a shot clear of another Englishman in Paul Waring.
“It was a bit up-and-down,” said Fitzpatrick. “Certainly didn’t have any A Game today. Just didn’t feel comfortable really out there with my drive. The fairways around here are tough, and that was a bit of a grind. To get in at 13 that was good – you’ve got to be on your game.
“Of course you’re looking at leaderboards, and anyone that says otherwise is a liar. You’ve always got it in your mind, that you know what you need to do and at the same time, got to try and stick to the game plan.
“That’s why everybody is here is to win. If not, you may as well go home. It will be a good day tomorrow. Unfortunately, Rory is playing very well. He’s playing very annoying. I’ve got to play well tomorrow and that’s why it’s a World Golf Championships. It’s got the best players in the world.”
Sungjae Im and Jason Kokrak were at 11 under, a shot clear of Abraham Ancer and Kevin Kisner, and two ahead of Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Victor Perez and Matthias Schwab.
As for Shane Lowry, for a third straight round the Offaly golfer could only manage an even par round of 72 with the Clara man all the way back in a tie for 44th after trading two birdies and two bogeys to remain at level par.
Full scoring HERE