Rory McIlroy is putting on a clinic at Royal Liverpool so far through three rounds of the 2014 Open Championship. The 25-year old will take a six shot lead over Rickie Fowler into the final round, after carding a 4-under, 68, on a day the R&A pushed the tee times up to make sure they could get the third round in before inclement weather would arrive.
McIlroy, who did nothing spectacular early on in his round saw Fowler catch fire and was actually tied for the lead at one point in the round.
However, a ferocious back nine from the Northern Irishmen would watch his lead balloon to the six stroke advantage he will have heading into Sunday’s final round.
After making the turn at Even par, McIlroy would go on to card two birdies to go along with eagles on No. 16 and 18, en route to his 68.
Through 54 holes of play, McIlroy has been clinical around Royal Liverpool carding only four bogeys to 16 birdies and two eagles. There was even a stretch of 17 holes at one point between any dropped shots.
A bet his father Gerry McIlroy placed 10 years ago for his son to win The Open Championship before the age of 26 may come to fruition. A £400 wager made by his father that his son would win before the age of 25 had the odds of 500 to 1. Meaning if he hangs on to win The Open, that bet will pay some £200,000 to his father.
With a win this week in Hoylake, England, McIlroy would have completed 75% of the career grand slam, with only a Masters green jacket left to complete what only five players have accomplished in the Masters era. Winning the career grand slam.
“I never thought I’d be able to be in this position,” McIlroy told reporters in his post round interview.
“I’m going to try and put all that out of my head because it would be way too much to think about, way too much to ponder.
“Not a lot of people have achieved a career grand slam and if everything goes the right way tomorrow, to get to three-quarters of the way there is some achievement by the age of 25.
“I’d be in pretty illustrious company, I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves but it would mean an awful lot. First things first, play a good solid round tomorrow and if that means I’m going to Augusta with a bit of hype then so be it.”
McIlroy is correct, he should not get ahead of himself in thoughts of heading to Augusta next April with the possibility of completing the carer grand slam. Although there is a fact that needs to be referenced from the 143 year history of The Open Championship.
No player has ever lost greater than a five stroke lead on the final day to lose The Open Championship — McIlroy leads by six.
This is seemingly becoming second nature to him as he won his first two majors by a combined 16 strokes. Eight at his US Open win and another eight at his PGA Championship victory.
The only question we may need to ask is what will his margin of victory be and will it be yet another record setting victory for McIlroy?