Toronto, June 12 (Ajit Weekly News) The big guns moved to the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Canadian Open as Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and American Tony Finau shared a two-stroke lead after third-round at St. George’s Golf and Country Club here on Saturday.
Defending champion McIlroy, playing in the second-to-last group, carded a five-under 65 to catch Finau who shot a 62, tying his career best round on the PGA Tour. Both were on 11-under 199 at the 8.7 million U.S. dollars tournament.
Justin Thomas, winner of last month’s PGA Championship, improved to seven-under 63 to sit equal third in a group that included fellow Americans Sam Burns (65), Alex Smalley (67) and Wyndham Clark, the leader through the first two rounds who shot 68.
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler was eight shots off the pace after a one-over 71.
McIlroy started his round one shot behind Clark. Following birdies at the fourth and seventh holes to get eight-under, he bogeyed the eighth hole before rebounding for birdie four at the 541-yard ninth. After picking up more strokes at the 11th, 12th and 15th holes in a see-saw battle for the lead with Finau, he missed a six-footer for birdie at the last that would have given him the outright lead, reports Xinhua.
The four-time Major winner said that he was happy just to have given himself a chance to be in the final group on Sunday.
“I feel like all aspects of my game are in pretty good shape. I just need to go out there and try and post a number and see if that’s good enough,” said McIlroy who will be one of the favourites going into next week’s U.S. Open at Brookline.
“I can’t worry too much about what the other guys around me are doing. I just have to go out there, set a target number in my head and just try to go for that.”
Finau put on what was largely a putting exhibition that resulted in seven birdies, including a 25-footer at the last, an eagle three on the ninth hole, and a bogey at the 12th hole.
“Yeah, I played nicely. I didn’t finish the way I wanted to yesterday and I think all it did was kind of light a fire in my belly to get after it today. That’s pretty much what I did. I made some birdies and I just played really clean golf,” said the Utah native.
“When I made an eagle on nine I kind of knew then I was like, ‘Oh, wow, we’re climbing up that leaderboard’. Any time you’re at the top of the leaderboard and have a chance to win on a Sunday on the PGA Tour it’s exciting.”
Thomas produced arguably the shot of the day when he nearly holed his approach at the 572-yard 15th and had to settle for a tap-in eagle three. His bogey-free round included five birdies.
“I played really solid. I didn’t do anything great, I just didn’t do anything bad,” said the world No. 6 who could top 50 million U.S. dollars in career prize money with a strong finish at the Toronto-area tournament.
“I drove it a little bit better today, but when I didn’t I just was trying to make par. This rough is so long that it’s not necessarily a place where, when you do get out of position, you can attack and still try to make birdie. I feel like I did that today. I’ve really done it all week. If you drive it well, you do have a lot of scoring clubs in.”
–Ajit Weekly News