Rory McIlroy boosted hopes of a second Tour victory this season shooting a sizzling eight-under par 64 on day three of the Memorial in Dublin, Ohio.
The effort was McIlroy’s lowest score since a similar 64 over the final round in capturing this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando.
McIlroy leap-frogged 64 places from his overnight level par tally to snatch the Muirfield Village clubhouse lead and some two hours before the leading duo of American Kyle Stanley and red-hot Chilean teenager, Joaquin Niemann were duo to tee-off.
A day earlier McIlroy looked to be heading home after earlier scores of 74 and 70 and it was only after a long anxious Friday afternoon wait he was assured of making the cut in the $ 7.1m event.
And the four-time Major winner grabbed his opportunity with both hands producing a fifth hole eagle, where he brilliantly holed a 38-foot bunker shot, and six birdies including three in succession from the 11th hole.
“Honestly, I am.Just to be here and just get a couple more rounds before going to the U.S. Open as it was touch-and-go whether or not if I would make the cut,” said McIlroy
“When I finished my second round I thought even par was easily going to get in but then once the guys went back out after the rain delay it seemed like the conditions were very benign and guys couldn’t stop making birdies.
“So, it was a bit of an edgy late afternoon, early evening but it was nice to be here for the weekend and I went out with the mindset that I would try and make the most of the next couple of days.
McIlroy now has Sunday’s final round before a week off and then heading to Shinnecock Hills on New York’s Long Island for the June 14th commencing U.S. Open.
And before heading to a well-earned lunch the current World No. 6 was quizzed if he felt his game was ready for the year’s second Major or does he need this next week off to work harder on his game.
“It’s hard to say, because over the last few weeks I’ve played rounds of golf like this, but I’ve also played rounds of golf where it’s been pretty average,” he said
“So, the good’s very good and the bad is, I need to get that a little bit better.
“If I could produce four days of golf at Shinnecock like I did today, then, yeah, I’m ready. But I’ve got a little bit of work to do just to get a bit more consistency in there.
“There was a lot of good stuff out there today with my wedge play was very good, I drove the ball better, and I was more committed to the swings I was trying to make.
“Then when I did get myself out of position, like I made three good pars on 16, 17 and 18.
“So, it was all there today. I missed a couple of chances on 14 and 15 and on 9 as well, I guess. But apart from that it was all pretty good.”
Shane Lowry carded a one-over-par 73 to drop back to a -1 total which leaves the Offaly man in a share of 65th place.