Rory McIlroy leads WGC-HSBC Champions heading into final round

Rory McIlroy leads WGC-HSBC Champions heading into final round
Rory McIlroy tees off during day three of the HSBC Champions golf tournament held at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai. Picture: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Rory McIlroy claimed the outright lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China with a third successive five-under round of 67.

McIlroy closed day two one shot behind Matthew Fitzpatrick but capitalised as the Englishman slipped from the top of the leaderboard on Saturday, finishing with a birdie to head into the final round with a one-stroke advantage over Louis Oosthuizen, who shot 65.

For the second day running McIlroy hit the turn in 33, but he went bogey-free for the first time this week and added two birdies on the back nine.

Oosthuizen opened his round with five birdies in pursuit of a maiden World Golf Championships title, while Fitzpatrick dropped to third, two shots off McIlroy alongside Xander Schauffele of the United States.

England’s Paul Waring is a shot further back in fifth.

Despite holding the lead, McIlroy saw plenty of room for improvement in his round.

“I feel like I weathered a mini-storm at the start,” he said. “After that, the round started to get going and I hit some good shots and held some good putts.

But I gave myself plenty of chances – a lot of chances from between 15 and 20 feet, so you’re not expecting to hole all of them – but I hit a lot of good putts today that didn’t go in.

“I stayed patient, I birdied the holes that I needed to birdie and I built a very gradual round. No bogeys, which was nice, but just kept plugging away trying to give myself chances.

“If I go out tomorrow and replicate what I’ve done the first three days, I think I’ll be pretty hard to beat.”

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