Rory McIlroy’s Wentworth excursions have seen a case of the good, the bad and the ugly but he feels he is growing in confidence ahead of the Ryder Cup in Marco Simone.
McIlroy scraped into the weekend late on Friday amid farcical scenes but he seemed to find his groove on Saturday, skipping around in 67 to move to six-under-par and ten shots adrift of Ludvig Åberg.
The 2014 BMW PGA champion began on the back nine bogeyed the eleventh but eased into the round with a birdie on 12 and three birdies in a row from the 15th before he was dealt a huge slice of luck on the par-5 18th.
Similar to the K Club last weekend, McIlroy’s second to the 18th kissed the sleepers before the water hazard and the ball ricocheted over the back of the green leading to a par. After bogeying the first, birdies on the fourth fifth and eighth saw him finish on a high note and he is refusing to give up the chase on Åberg on Sunday.
“It felt good.” McIlroy told RTÉ Sport. “I mean I played well, give myself a lot of chances obviously got off to a great start and hit a couple of bad bogeys. But you know that’s golf and I’m pretty happy, like anytime shoot five under around here is pretty good. I mean, it’s obviously playing pretty easy today, but it’s never that easy.
“I’m in a sort of half decent position in tomorrow. Obviously I’d like to be closer to leaders but if I can go and shoot low tomorrow, you just never know.
“It’s hard to win these tournaments and it’s hard to finish down the stretch like this. So who knows what the winning score will be? I just have to keep doing my own thing and plugging away.”
There has been plenty to admire in McIlroy’s game through 54 holes but also several head scratching moments from the four-time major champion who is on a redemption mission in Rome after only picking up one point in the 2021 Ryder Cup and being left out of his first ever session.
“Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I feel like I’m going into the Ryder Cup with quite a bit of confidence in my game. It’s always a great place to be because if you’re not too confident your game you can get found out. So you know I’m not going to be like that. I’m pretty happy and I’m very excited.”