Rory McIlroy will need his Sunday best to take home the FedEx St Jude Classic trophy, after a frustrating up and down moving day left him five back of leaders Lucas Glover and Taylor Moore.
McIlroy started the day on 7-under-par and birdied the first and fourth to move into 9-under. The world number two then bogeyed six and birdied seven before a poor three-putt bogey on 9 meant he turned in one-under par.
McIIroy started the back nine with a bogey on 10 before a chip in par on 14 after finding water off the tee. Birdies on 15,16 and 17 moved him into double digits before a poor drive on 18 meant he had to chip out, leading to a bogey and a two-under par 69 for a 9-under total, in a tie for sixth.
McIlroy told the media that he feels stuck in “neutral” this and spoke of his frustration with the mistakes.
“Overall I feel like I’ve sort of been stuck in neutral a little bit this week, and I’m still in a decent position. Depending on what the leaders do coming in, five back going into tomorrow, I feel like I could catch fire and hopefully make a run”, he said.
“Just sloppy mistakes, like the three-putt on 9, wrong club on six, leaving myself in the wrong spot. Just sort of sloppy mistakes. First week back in a couple of weeks, and I guess hopefully getting them all out of the system before next week and the TOUR Championship”.
Co-leader Lucas Glover called his 66 on moving day “scrappy,” and admitted that in some parts of his performance, you can “remove the ‘s.’ ”
“Three months ago if you told me I’d be mad at 66, I would have told you that you’re crazy, so splitting hairs,” the 2009 US Open champion Glover said, “but it was a little bit of smoke and mirrors today.”
Glover is joined on 14-under par by fellow American Taylor Moore. Moore is confident. He hasn’t had one round where he’s gotten hot or had an unusually good day thus far in this tournament. He shot 66 in each of the first two rounds and finished with a 65 on Saturday.
“Really pleased with my start,” Moore said. “Looking forward to being in the final group tomorrow with Lucas.”
Of the 10 golfers who are within five shots of Glover’s lead, all are ranked in the top-I5 in the world golf rankings at the moment. Glover and Moore are both outside the top 50 but Glover plans to keep the aggressive strategy heading into the final round.
Tommy Fleetwood is the closest challenger after posting three consecutive rounds of 66 to sit on 12-under-par, two back of the American duo.
Sam Burns made a hole-in-one at the par-3 11th hole from 157 yards with a 9-iron, the second of his career on TOUR and second this season.
Seamus Powers’ struggles continued on moving day as he shot a 1-over-par 71 to slip to 5-over-par and solo 68th.
Power tees off at 7.10am local time, 1.10pm Irish time for his final round whilst Rory McIlroy gets his leaderboard charge underway at 12.20pm local time, 6.20pm Irish time.