After playing his best stretch of golf this week on the front nine, Rory McIlroy lost his composure – and a long-iron – after the turn on day three of The 149th Open in Sandwich.
Rory McIlroy let his frustration get the better of him during his third round at The Open, throwing his club in anger after a wayward drive
Rory McIlroy’s frustration boiled over on day three at The Open as he threw a club in despair during an error-strewn back-nine at Royal St George’s.
McIlroy began his third round hours earlier than he had hoped after back-to-back 70s left him 11 shots behind halfway leader Louis Oosthuizen, but he revived his hopes of a late-afternoon tee time on Sunday with his best performance of the week over the first nine holes.
The 2014 champion carded five birdies against one mistake at the fifth in an outward 31 that lifted him to four under for the Championship, but he lost his way after the turn and gave shots back at 11 and 13, and he was unable to contain his anger after he pulled his tee shot into the left rough at the long 14th.
Rory McIlroy failed to register a birdie on the back nine during his third round
The poor strike with a long-iron was followed by an outstretched arm and a shout of “fore”, and he launched the offending club into more long grass a few yards from the tee box.
McIlroy did escape with a par-five only to suffer another mishap on the 15th green, where his short putt for par circled around the lip and stayed out, and three closing pars at least secured his first sub-70 score of the tournament.
Rory McIlroy reflects on an eventful third-round 69 at The Open and gives his verdict on the R&A’s course set-up at Royal St George’s.
After signing for a 69, completing his third round almost an hour before the final pairing of Oosthuizen and Collin Morikawa teed off, McIlroy told the media: “Sort of a tale of two nines. I played great on the front nine, hit some really good iron shots and converted some putts and really got it going.
“Then the back nine played tough. They’re sort of tucking the pins away. They’ve stretched the golf course out to as long as it can play. I was hitting two-iron into the 11th hole, that par-3, and that was sort of it – I missed a short putt there for par and it kind of killed the momentum I had.
Rory McIlroy remains without a major victory since the 2014 PGA Championship
“Not birdieing the par-five [14th] and making another couple bogeys on the way in, certainly it felt like a better round than one under par, but it was encouraging to see some of the golf that I played on that front nine.
“It’s just a matter of trying to keep that going and try to turn those nine-hole stretches into 18-hole stretches, and then those 18-hole stretches into whole tournaments. It’s getting there.”
Who will win The 149th Open? Watch the final round live on Sunday from 8am on Sky Sports The Open.