Rory McIlroy staying positive ahead of Sunday shootout at Riviera

World number one is tied for the lead with Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar at 10 under

Rory McIlroy plays his tee shot on the second hole during the third round of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. Photo:  Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy plays his tee shot on the second hole during the third round of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. Photo: Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

 

Rory McIlroy made a deft par save at the final hole to earn a three-way tie for the lead with Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar on Saturday as the Genesis Open headed towards a Hollywood finish in Tinseltown.

Despite missing several excellent birdie opportunities, Northern Irishman McIlroy carded three-under-par 68 in magnificent winter sunshine at Riviera in Los Angeles.

Australian Scott sank a breaking 10-foot downhill birdie at the last for 67, while American halfway pacesetter Kuchar managed a 70.

The trio, with 39 official PGA Tour victories between them, will start Sunday’s final round at 10-under 203, with four others within two strokes on a tightly-bunched leaderboard.

Americans Russell Henley and Harold Varner III trail by one, while 2017 champion Dustin Johnson is two behind with Joel Dahmen.

Tournament host Tiger Woods, however, will have to wait another year for a chance of finally winning an event that has proved strangely elusive during his decorated career.

He shot 76 and fell 15 shots behind.

World number one McIlroy was not too hard on himself despite failing to convert most of his plentiful birdie opportunities, which he said more often than not were downhill putts that he had to be careful over.

“I gave myself a lot of chances. I didn’t make that many (because) I was on the wrong side of the hole all day, putting defensively,” he said, his mood helped by his delicate up-and-down from greenside rough at the last.

“For the most part I’ve just been managing my game well. When I’ve been missing greens I’ve been getting up and down.”

McIlroy has 17 official PGA Tour victories, while Scott has 13, a number that does not include his 2005 success at Riviera, which was deemed unofficial after rain shortened the tournament to 36 holes.

“I count it. I’ve got the trophy,” joked the 2013 Masters champion, who feels unusually comfortable on the Riviera greens.

“I’m generally comfortable. Everyone struggles on the greens here and it seems I do a little better than I normally do on the greens (at other courses).

“This is definitely my favourite course on the PGA Tour. It’s fun I keep getting back in late groups on the weekend.”

Kuchar, meanwhile, rued three bogeys in a four-hole stretch late that gave his many pursuers hope, though he bounced back with a birdie at the par-five 17th, where he judged perfectly a sharply-breaking 15-foot putt.

Collated third round score & totals in the USPGA Tour The Genesis Invitational, Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, California, United States of America (USA unless stated, par 71):

203 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 68 67 68, Adam Scott (Aus) 72 64 67, Matt Kuchar 64 69 70

204 Harold Varner III 67 68 69, Russell Henley 67 69 68

205 Dustin Johnson 72 66 67, Joel Dahmen 68 71 66

206 Talor Gooch 70 72 64, Max Homa 72 69 65, Sung Kang (Kor) 69 67 70

207 Wyndham Clark 67 68 72, Luke List 71 68 68, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 71 72 64, Scott Brown 71 68 68, Jon Rahm (Spa) 70 68 69, Bryson DeChambeau 68 70 69, 208 James Hahn 68 70 70, Paul Casey (Eng) 69 69 70, Collin Morikawa 73 67 68, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 69 69 70, Chez Reavie 69 68 71

209 Brian Stuard 72 68 69, Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 68 70 71, Scott Piercy 70 69 70, Kyoung-hoon Lee (Kor) 67 73 69, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 68 69 72, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 71 70 68

210 Brooks Koepka 69 73 68, Vaughn Taylor 69 67 74, Marc Leishman (Aus) 70 72 68, Andrew Landry 68 72 70, Sam Burns 73 68 69, Lanto Griffin 71 70 69, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 69 69 72, Cameron Tringale 74 69 67

211 Adam Schenk 67 73 71, JT Poston 69 72 70, Xander Schauffele 72 70 69, Adam Hadwin (Can) 71 71 69, Patrick Cantlay 68 72 71, Denny McCarthy 69 72 70, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 70 70 71, Joseph Bramlett 74 69 68, Martin Trainer 72 71 68, Ryan Moore 71 71 69

212 Pat Perez 73 70 69, Scottie Scheffler 69 72 71, Justin Rose (Eng) 69 69 74, Martin Laird (Sco) 71 71 70, Patrick Rodgers 71 71 70, Jordan Spieth 72 70 70, Patrick Reed 68 73 71

213 Bud Cauley 74 69 70, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 76 67 70, Alex Noren (Swe) 71 70 72, Brian Harman 70 69 74

214 Tony Finau 72 71 71, Steve Stricker 72 71 71, J.B. Holmes 69 69 76, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 72 68 74, Brendon Todd 73 70 71

215 J.J. Spaun 73 69 73

218 Tiger Woods 69 73 76, Charles Howell III 77 66 75

219 Jason Dufner 75 68 76, Kyle Stanley 71 70 78

221 Tyler Duncan 73 69 79

222 Ryan Palmer 71 70 81

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