Rory McIlroy ready for Firestone shoot-out with Justin Thomas

McIlroy trails by three but says ‘every facet’ of his game feels good heading into Sunday

Rory McIlroy trails by three heading into the final round of the WGC Invitational at Bridgestone. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty

Rory McIlroy trails by three heading into the final round of the WGC Invitational at Bridgestone. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty

 

Rory McIlroy admitted to feeling good in “every facet” of his game as he eyes a final-round shoot-out with leader Justin Thomas at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

McIlroy posted his second-straight 67 to move to 11 under in a bogey-free third round at Akron, to trail clear leader Thomas by three shots.

Thomas also posted a 67 to sit on 14 under, while England’s Ian Poulter carded a par 70, for a tie of second at 11 under with McIlroy.

But it will be McIlroy who will partner Thomas in the final group on Sunday, with the 29-year-old having now strung together 26 holes without a bogey.

“It felt good, I hit a few more fairways today which definitely helped,” McIlroy told Sky Sports.

“I drove the ball well, gave myself plenty of chances, didn’t convert too many but even when I put myself out of position I held some good pars.

“If I can just make a couple more birdies tomorrow and keep the bogies off my card, I shouldn’t be too far away.

“I’ve putted well this week and every facet of my game feels pretty good.

“I probably would have taken 67 before the start of the day the way the conditions were, so I’m happy with that.

Justin Thomas leads by three heading into the final round in Akron. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty
Justin Thomas leads by three heading into the final round in Akron. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty

“I’m excited for tomorrow to see how everything holds up.”

Poulter, world number three Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood had shared the lead on 11 under after the second round — but the two English players were unable to advance their claims on Saturday.

Poulter kept himself in touch with the leaders courtesy of his 70, while Fleetwood’s four-over 74 dropped him back down to a share of ninth with Louis Oosthuizen, at seven under.

Collated third round scores & totals in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational:

196 Justin Thomas 65 64 67
199 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 65 67 67, Ian Poulter (Eng) 62 67 70
200 Jason Day (Aus) 65 66 69
201 Kyle Stanley 63 68 70, Marc Leishman (Aus) 65 69 67
202 Jon Rahm (Spa) 64 70 68, Rickie Fowler 63 74 65
203 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 66 63 74, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 68 66 69
204 Luke List 65 68 71, Brooks Koepka 66 70 68, Patrick Cantlay64 72 68, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 68 67 69, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 64 68 72, Anirban Lahiri (Ind) 65 70 69
205 Haotong Li (Chn) 66 67 72, Tony Finau 68 66 71, Aaron Wise67 71 67, Matt Kuchar68 70 67, Webb Simpson69 65 71
206 Dustin Johnson 69 71 66, Ross Fisher (Eng) 67 68 71, Zach Johnson69 70 67, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 71 67 68, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 70 69 67, Patrick Reed66 70 70
207 Phil Mickelson 66 69 72, Kevin Na 65 72 70, Tiger Woods66 68 73, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 68 67 72, Gary Woodland67 71 69, Bubba Watson71 69 67
208 Wade Ormsby (Aus) 69 71 68, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 70 69 69
209 Daniel Berger 67 71 71, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 67 72 70, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 70 70 69, Cameron Smith (Aus) 70 70 69, Alex Noren (Swe) 70 73 66, Patton Kizzire68 67 74, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 66 70 73
210 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 72 70 68, Ryuko Tokimatsu (Jpn) 68 71 71, Adam Scott (Aus) 68 75 67, Paul Casey (Eng) 68 71 71, Russell Knox (Sco) 67 70 73, Kevin Kisner74 68 68
211 Pat Perez 68 70 73, Ted Potter, Jr. 70 66 75, Andrew Landry70 67 74, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 69 71 71, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 71 74 66, Brian Harman71 68 72, Kevin Chappell71 72 68, Jordan Spieth71 72 68
212 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 70 72 70, Brendan Steele 73 69 70, Charley Hoffman69 70 73, Bryson DeChambeau75 69 68
213 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 73 69 71, Austin Cook 73 69 71
214 Xander Schauffele 69 73 72, Paul Dunne (Irl) 71 68 75
215 Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 68 72 75, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 70 75 70
217 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 71 72 74
218 Branden Grace (Rsa) 73 74 71
223 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 72 79 72
224 Jaco Ahlers (Rsa) 68 79 77
225 Kodai Ichihara (Jpn) 73 74 78

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