Rory McIlroy looking forward to final-day battle at Riviera
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 21/02/16 4:39pm
Rory McIlroy is looking forward to a final-day "shoot-out" in California after ending the third day of the Northern Trust Open just two strokes behind leader Bubba Watson.
McIlroy, who is enjoying his debut at the iconic Riviera Country Club, was forced to scramble hard during his four-under 67 which kept him in the hunt among a congested leaderboard packed with star names.
Watson leads the way on 12 under, while the likes of Mcilroy, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and last week's winner Hideki Matsuyama are all in the chasing pack heading into the final round.
"Quality courses produce a quality leaderboard, and you just have to look at the names up there," said world No 3 McIlroy, who made five birdies and dropped only one shot following a careless approach to the third.
"Bubba, Dustin, myself, Adam, all very, very good players. It's going to be a bit of a shoot-out tomorrow, and I'm happy that I stayed at 10-under and didn't drop to nine.
"It's one of these golf courses, if you just stay around, hang in there and not make too many mistakes, stay patient, your time will come and it will present itself with a few opportunities. And thankfully on the back nine, I was able to take some of them."
Asked about his game plan for Sunday, McIlroy insisted he would focus on his own form rather than be distracted by how his fellow contenders are performing.
"I don't think you can look too much at what the other guys are doing," he added. "You've just got to go out and set yourself a number. If you go out and achieve that, and it's not quite enough, then someone's just played better than you that day.
"I need to hit more fairways. I didn't hit my first fairway until the eighth hole today. Even though the rough isn't that long, being in that kikuyu grass takes so much control out of your hands. Even though the greens are soft, it's still very tricky to judge.
"I feel like my iron game is sharp, my short game has been pretty good and my putting was nice today. I holed out well, and I have to continue to do that."
Don't miss the final round at Riviera. Live coverage starts Sunday at 6pm on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf.