‘I would need to go out and shoot 64 and see where that leaves me’: Rory McIlroy happy with progress after third-round 66 at CJ Cup as he looks to find form before the Masters
- McIlroy hit a six-under 66 to move to seven shots off leader Russell Henley
- It was a great round for McIlroy who had been 12 shots off the lead on Friday
- It was a disappointing day for Tyrrell Hatton who dropped back from second
He fired a superb six-under 66 on Saturday to move to eight-under on day three of the CJ Cup in Las Vegas.
McIlroy is still to register a worldwide victory in 2020, with the world number four looking for a strong finish to the week to put pressure on those at the top of the leaderboard and make a late challenge for a 19th PGA Tour title.
Rory McIlroy shot a superb six-under 66 on Saturday to close the gap to top of the leaderboard
McIlroy was 12 shots off the pace after two rounds but closed the gap down to just seven
His performance on Saturday pushed him into the top-ten and seven strokes behind 54-hole leader Russell Henley.
As reported by Sky Sports, McIlroy said after his performance: ‘I think after the three weeks off after the US Open and getting home and recharging, I sort of viewed this as like a six-week run-up until Augusta,’ McIlroy said. ‘I’m trying to work hard.
‘I’m trying to do the right things, working hard on my game, working hard on what I need not just for these weeks, but obviously looking ahead to Augusta as well.
‘That’s energising, right? Something to build towards and that’s sort of what I’m trying to do.
‘The last two weeks every swing that I’ve made, every ball that I’ve hit has been with at least two or three swing thoughts. Yesterday was a little better and then today again I hit the ball pretty good, especially off the tee again. That was a big plus.
‘I’ve been sort of complaining about my driving and off the tee, but this week’s been really good. So if I can just keep continuing to see progress there into tomorrow, it would be great to shoot another low one and get myself right up there. But I feel like I’ve made some good strides in my game.’
When asked whether he can the trophy he added: ‘There’s not much separation, so I would need to go out and maybe shoot 64 tomorrow and see where that leaves me.
McIlroy is hoping to find some late form going into the Masters after not winning in 2020
‘But it was a good round today, I played better. I did what I wanted to do and that’s all I can ask for.”
Meanwhile Englishman Tyrrell Hatton lost ground on day three in Las Vegas.
Hatton was three shots off the lead in second place on Friday night but followed rounds of 65 and 68 with a one-over 73.
McIlroy by contrast was 12 shots off the pace after opening rounds of 73 and 69, before he closed the gap with his six-under 66 to move to eight-under for the tournament.
Tyrrell Hatton hit a disappointing one-over 73 dropping back from what was second place
He took birdies on the par-four third and sixth holes, dropped a shot on the long seventh, but then made six birdies against just one bogey in playing his back nine in five-under, including birdying his last three holes.
Henley was an unspectacular model of consistency in building his lead, with two front nine birdied and three more to kick off his back nine, in his bogey-free round.
England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick, shot an even-par 72 to be seven-under while Ian Poulter shot 73 to be four-under and 11 off the lead and Justin Rose, whose 68 had him at two-under.