The 150th Open: Rory McIlroy says win would mean everything as Viktor Hovland enjoys ‘awesome’ third round | Golf News

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Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland share the lead after 54 holes of The 150th Open at St Andrews; pair on 16 under and four clear of nearest challengers; McIlroy: “I just need to do it for one more day”; watch the final round live on Sky Sports The Open from 8am on Sunday

Last Updated: 16/07/22 9:23pm


Rory McIlroy has said winning the 150th Open Championship would 'mean everything to him'

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Rory McIlroy has said winning the 150th Open Championship would ‘mean everything to him’

Rory McIlroy has said winning the 150th Open Championship would ‘mean everything to him’

Rory McIlroy has said winning The 150th Open “would mean everything” to him after he moved into a share of the lead following a superb third round at St Andrews.

The Northern Irishman was paired with Norway’s Viktor Hovland on the Old Course and, after starting three behind overnight leader Cameron Smith, the pair surged four shots clear of Smith and Cameron Young, after producing matching scores of six-under 66 to move to 16 under.

The highlight of McIlroy’s round came at the par-four 10th when he holed a perfectly-played bunker shot for an eagle and he also added five birdies and a lone bogey at the 17th, while Hovland’s flawless effort included four successive birdies from the third.

Rob Lee and David Howell review McIlroy's third round at The Open Championship as the four-time major winner shot a six-under 66 to secure a place in the final pairing for the final round

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Rob Lee and David Howell review McIlroy’s third round at The Open Championship as the four-time major winner shot a six-under 66 to secure a place in the final pairing for the final round

Rob Lee and David Howell review McIlroy’s third round at The Open Championship as the four-time major winner shot a six-under 66 to secure a place in the final pairing for the final round

McIlroy now has his sights set on ending his major drought, the last of his four victories coming at the 2014 PGA Championship, although he admits he still has work to do in the final round on Sunday, when he will be paired with Hovland once again.

“It would mean everything [to win] because of what I’ve been through these last few years and trying to get that fifth one,” McIlroy told Sky Sports.

“But here we are talking about getting ahead of myself. I need to go out and keep the same mindset I had today and the last three days.

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“I know if I go out there and play my own game I can shoot scores like this on this golf course and I just need to do it for one more day.

“Then I’ll give you all the superlatives and everything else if that does happen.

“Right now I’ve got to go rest, recover, focus on myself, try to go out and shoot another good one.”

Henni Koyack is joined by McIlroy in the Open Zone via the power of Sky Scope technology to take a closer look at his power and prowess off the tee

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Henni Koyack is joined by McIlroy in the Open Zone via the power of Sky Scope technology to take a closer look at his power and prowess off the tee

Henni Koyack is joined by McIlroy in the Open Zone via the power of Sky Scope technology to take a closer look at his power and prowess off the tee

After a number of near-misses in majors in recent years, McIlroy, who won The Open at Royal Liverpool in 2014, believes he is in the form of his life at the present time.

“I’m a better player now than I was then [when I last won it], I’m a better player now than I was 12 months ago,” he added.

“I’ve got a lot of belief in myself, I’ve done it before, I know I can do it again.

“I’ve just got to go out there tomorrow, stay in my own little world, shoot another good score and hopefully that’s enough.”

McIlroy revealed the bunker shot at the 10th was his first effort from the sand this week and admitted it was a bonus to see his ball drop in for an eagle.

McIlroy took a share of the lead after holing an incredible bunker shot for eagle on the 10th hole at The Open

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McIlroy took a share of the lead after holing an incredible bunker shot for eagle on the 10th hole at The Open

McIlroy took a share of the lead after holing an incredible bunker shot for eagle on the 10th hole at The Open

“It was really cool, I think it was the first bunker I’ve been in this week,” he said.

“Practised a good bit out of them on the practice green but where that pin was as well, it was right on a little nob, it just landed perfectly and that’s a bonus.

“To try to win these championships, things like that need to go your way at certain times and thankfully that was a nice bonus on 10.”

On the prospect of playing with Hovland again on Sunday, the 33-year-old added: “It was a great group to be a part of as well. Viktor got off to a great start and we were just sort of feeding off one another, we’ll do it all again tomorrow.”

McIlroy and Viktor Hovland will play together again on Sunday in the final pairing

McIlroy and Viktor Hovland will play together again on Sunday in the final pairing

Hovland, 24, whose highest finish in a major is tied 12th, insisted it had been far from easy as he kept a bogey off his card but he is also relishing another battle on Sunday.

“It was awesome, but it was still pretty stressful,” Hovland told Sky Sports. “It might not have looked like it, being bogey-free, but I had a lot of short par putts for that I needed to make and I was really happy to keep it bogey-free.

Hovland claimed it feels outrageous he is leading The Open Championship given his 'lousy' recent form

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Hovland claimed it feels outrageous he is leading The Open Championship given his ‘lousy’ recent form

Hovland claimed it feels outrageous he is leading The Open Championship given his ‘lousy’ recent form

“It’s pretty outrageous, to be fair. I’ve never been here before, so at the start of the week I was just trying to soaking everything in. I’ve honestly come into this tournament with some lousy performances, so I’m glad it turned around this week.

“I’m just trying to make the most of it and I’m going to have a lot of fun tomorrow.”

Watch the final round of The 150th Open from 8am on Sunday live on Sky Sports The Open. There will be lots of extra action via the red button on Sky Sports The Open, along with Sky Q and Sky Glass, with Featured Groups and Featured Holes available to enjoy as the world’s best players tackle the Home of Golf.

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