It’s been a tumultuous week for Rory McIlroy who has faced up to the brunt of the media questions addressing the bombshell PGA TOUR/LIV Golf merger but he had fun on the golf course as he roared into second place to set up a Sunday shootout at the RBC Canadian Open.
McIlroy carded a flawless six-under 66 to climb to twelve-under-par alongside Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Harry Higgs and Andrew Novak while CT Pan leads on fourteen-under.
“It’s a lot of fun. I got off to a great start. 3-under through that first nine holes I felt was a really good effort. Kept it going through the first part of the back nine,” said McIlroy who birdied holes 3, 5, 8 before three successive birdies on the back nine catapulted him into the thick of contention.
“Then the putter went a little cold on me over those last five holes. But, yeah, overall, it’s great to put myself in with a shot tomorrow. There’s a lot of people up there around the lead, so it’s going to be a fun day.”
McIlroy is fourth in streken gained off the tee and fourth in putting but an improved performance in approach play was the catalyst for giving himself good birdie chances throughout his round.
“Really struggled with that part of the game on Thursday. Went and did some practice Thursday afternoon. I got a good feel and yeah, as you said, definitely the approach play over the last couple days has been a lot better. So looking for more of that tomorrow.”
McIlroy admitted to feeling fatigued on Tuesday as news of the golf merger broke and the same on Wednesday as he fronted questions during a lengthy press conference, but as he has shown throughout his career, when the chips are down and he has a point to prove, more often than not, he performs.
“Yeah, for whatever reason I seem to play better when there’s a little bit of noise going in the world of golf. Yeah, it is. 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. So, yeah, it’s been a nice reprieve with everything else going on and happy to be playing well.”
Meanwhile, Shane Lowry is trending in the right direction after a back nine of 33 gave him a 70 as he moved to five-under-par.