Rory McIlroy may have claimed that 'freaky Fridays' were costing him the chance of winning more tournaments but, this week, his form has been freaky for the first three days.
In the original statement, McIlroy was bemoaning the fact that his second-round scores where often the anomalies in his four-rounds – he has averaged a score of 72.89 on Fridays.
However, this time around, he has been freakishly good. There have been many excellent performances at Hoylake, but nobody has dealt with the course as well as McIlroy and his six shot lead, with one round to play, is just reward for his scintillating golf.
The Ulsterman has been long and accurate off the tee, reliable with his approach shots and creative around the green, whilst his putting has been deadly.
He is now in position to win his first claret jug. Indeed, not since Greg Norman in 1996, has somebody thrown away a lead of such proportions in a major tournament.
It would be a surprise to see McIlroy do the same given his consistency over the first few days. The 25-year-old has made just four bogeys over the course of the first 54 holes and unless he comes close to doubling that total on the final day, he will surely be fine given his lead.
Chasing him down will be Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson, but none of the trio have looked as at ease as McIlroy has.
The two time major champion had seen his overnight lead trimmed, with Fowler matching him at twelve under at one stage yesterday, but his reaction was incredible. Two eagles, brilliantly crafted, on the final two par fives – the 16th and the 18th – saw him re-establish clear daylight at the top of the leaderboard, and Fowler’s errors in the closing stages only increased the gap.
And, although McIlroy has previous of letting final day leads at majors slip, after he choked on the final round of the US Masters in 2011, even he could admit that he was feeling more experienced in these situations now.
"This is the third night in a row that I'll sleep on the lead. I feel very comfortable leading the tournament," he told reporters.
"It helps that I've been in this position before and I've been able to get the job done."
Career grand slam
If he does go on to win he will be only one major away from completing a career grand-slam – with wins already at the US Open and the PGA Championship. Not bad for a man who only turned professional seven years ago.
“That would mean a lot of hype going into Augusta next year,” McIlroy added. “I’d be in pretty illustrious company. It would mean an awful lot. I never thought that I’d be able to be in this position. I didn’t think that I’d even have the chance at 25 to go for three legs of the grand slam.
“But we are not getting ahead of ourselves. I’m going to try to put all of that out of my head. It would be way too much to think about and way too much to ponder. First things first; just play a good solid round of golf.”
And that is all it requires now: 18 solid holes, rather than 18 spectacular ones. McIlroy has put his freaky Fridays behind him and, instead, he is hoping it will be a Super Sunday later today.
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