With his power off the tee, and three par fives on the back nine at Royal Liverpool, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that 24 year-old Rory McIlroy shot another superb round of golf at the 2014 Open Championship on Saturday afternoon. The two-time major champ fired a four under par 68 and will take a six-stroke lead to the first tee on Sunday. He will play with Rickie Fowler who shot a 68 of his own, but faded down the stretch.
Rory bogeyed the first hole again, and seemed to be stuck in neutral with one birdie to make the turn at even par. The tee time had been moved up to allot for the impending rain in the area around Hoylake, but when the young Northern Irishman got to the back-nine he kicked his game into afterburner.
He swapped a birdie at eleven for a bogey at twelve and it seemed that a unprobable birdie at 14 that lit the fire that started the eagle barrage down the stretch.
A bogey at 17 looked like trouble after he eagled the 16th, but he almost looked like he was showing off when he hit his drive at 18, and the long iron to ten feet for yet another eagle.
Everybody has expected a bad round this week somewhere from Rory, but it hasn’t come. If he can hold on tomorrow, he will get the third leg of the career slam.
Rickie Fowler had a good round going, and had a share of the lead going to the 14th tee, and his game took a left turn. Three bogeys at 14, 16 and 17 took him out of the competition, but a great sand save for a birdie at 18 put him in the final group on Sunday.
McIlroy’s playing partner on Saturday afternoon, Dustin Johnson couldn’t get anything going. A threesome of bogeys at seven, eight and nine got him in the clubhouse at one under par for the day, and seven strokes back.
This championship is shaping up for a real shootout on Sunday, but unless Rory helps out with some mistakes, everyone else will be playing for second place.