Rory McIlroy blazes to Memphis lead after sizzling 62

World No 3 opens up one-shot lead over Brooks Koepka at FedEx St Jude Invitational

Rory McIlroy  reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th green during the third round of the World Golf Championships FedEx St Jude Invitational tournament at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. Photograph: Tannen Maur/EPA

Rory McIlroy reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th green during the third round of the World Golf Championships FedEx St Jude Invitational tournament at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. Photograph: Tannen Maur/EPA

 

Rory McIlroy birdied four of his final five holes to card a superb eight-under par 62 and open up a one-shot lead at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational in Memphis.

Just over a week on from missing the cut at the British Open at Portrush, the McIlroy, who had started the day five shots off the lead, registered nine birdies and a bogey as he moved to 12 under.

The world number three opened what was the joint-lowest round of the week with a birdie, added another on the third and then three in a row from the seventh, before finishing strong.

World number one Brooks Koepka is second after the American produced a round of 64 featuring seven birdies and one bogey.

“It is exciting,” said McIlroy. “He’s [Koepka] the number one player in the world, four Majors in the last three years, he’s the man right now.

“I got to play with him the last couple of days and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing what he can do.

“The last four missed cuts that I’ve had, I’ve finished first, second, first and 12th, I’m a quick learner. We’re very fortunate in golf that there’s always next week, you can respond so quickly from setbacks and failures.

“Tomorrow’s a new day. Whatever happened today is great but I’ve got to reset and try and go again tomorrow. I think it’s nice that I’ve seen some really good golf and I’ve seen some putts fall.

“I don’t know if it gives you momentum but it gives you confidence going forward.”

Overnight leader Matt Fitzpatrick lies third, one stroke behind Koepka, after a 69.

The Englishman bounced back from a double-bogey on the 12th and bogeys on the 13th and 15th by making successive birdies on the 16th and 17th.

When asked if he was pleased with how he fought back at the end, Fitzpatrick said: “Yes, definitely. I felt like I played pretty solid, certainly the front nine, lots of fairways and greens. I struggled a little bit in the middle of the back nine, but to get it back under par I felt was probably fair.”

Australia’s Marc Leishman, Sweden’s Alex Noren and Spain’s Jon Rahm are tied in fourth at nine under.

Fitzpatrick’s compatriot Ian Poulter is among a trio a shot further back, along with Thorbjorn Olesen of Norway and US player Billy Horschel.

And another Englishman, Tommy Fleetwood, is one of four players on seven under. He is joined by Americans Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson.

THIRD-ROUND LEADERBOARD
(USA unless stated, par 70)

198 Rory McIlroy (N Irl) 69 67 62

199 Brooks Koepka (USA) 68 67 64

200 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 67 64 69

201 Alex Noren (Swe) 66 69 66, Jon Rahm (Esp) 62 71 68, Marc Leishman (Aus) 69 69 63

202 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 66 71 65, Ian Poulter (Eng) 66 69 67, Billy Horschel (USA) 67 66 69

203 Justin Thomas (USA) 68 69 66, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 68 70 65, Bubba Watson (USA) 65 70 68, Webb Simpson (USA) 69 66 68

204 Matt Wallace (Eng) 70 69 65

205 Haotong Li (Chn) 69 69 67, Shugo Imahira (Jpn) 65 69 71, Justin Rose (Eng) 67 68 70

206 Kevin Na (USA) 70 66 70, Cameron Smith (Aus) 65 68 73, Justin Harding (Rsa) 72 70 64, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 66 71 69, Patrick Cantlay (USA) 65 68 73, Chez Reavie (USA) 68 70 68, Patrick Reed (USA) 73 66 67, Jordan Spieth (USA) 70 70 66

207 Dustin Johnson (USA) 69 69 69, Matthew Wolff (USA) 72 70 65, Nate Lashley (USA) 66 70 71, Aaron Rai (Eng) 72 69 66

208 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 65 71 72, Xander Schauffele (USA) 69 70 69, Adam Long (USA) 71 70 67, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 73 69 66, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 70 71 67, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 69 67 72, Corey Conners (Can) 67 71 70

209 Jason Day (Aus) 72 69 68, Tony Finau (USA) 70 71 68, Andrew Putnam (USA) 66 71 72, Jim Furyk (USA) 74 65 70

210 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 69 71 70, Paul Casey (Eng) 70 71 69, Eddie Pepperell (Eng) 70 74 66, Kevin Kisner (USA) 77 67 66

211 Matt Kuchar (USA) 70 70 71, Danny Willett (Eng) 69 72 70, Brandt Snedeker (USA) 69 73 69

212 Adam Scott (Aus) 70 68 74, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai) 72 70 70, 213 Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 67 74 72

214 Phil Mickelson (USA) 68 73 73, Gary Woodland (USA) 73 71 70, Keith Mitchell (USA) 73 70 71

215 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 69 74 72, JB Holmes (USA) 76 71 68

216 Kodai Ichihara (Jpn) 71 70 75, Poom Saksansin (Tha) 68 73 75

217 Keegan Bradley (USA) 74 78 65, Sung Kang (Kor) 69 75 73, Philip Eriksson (Swe) 73 72 72

218 Mikumu Horikawa (Jpn) 75 77 66

224 Max Homa (USA) 74 73 77

227 Kevin Tway (USA) 76 77 74

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.