Rory McIlroy not happy with form but still in contention for Colonial title
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 14/06/20 9:30pm
Rory McIlroy seemed surprised that he was still just three shots off the lead at the end of a frustrating third-round 69 at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
McIlroy's form was reminiscent of his first round rather than his sensational second-day 63 as he mixed three birdies with a pair of bogeys to close on 10 under par, with playing partner Xander Schauffele claiming the outright lead ahead of five players in second place.
The world No 1 looked poised to produce another low score when he drilled his second to 15 feet at the first, although he missed the eagle chance and then strung together five uneventful pars before he pulled a long-iron into trouble off the tee at the seventh - a mistake which led to bogey.
McIlroy, who is making his first appearance at Colonial, then tugged another iron way left at the short eighth and dropped another shot, but he regrouped after the turn and got up-and-down from sand for birdie at the long 11th before getting a 25-foot putt to drop for another at the 14th.
He parred safely in to stay at 10 under, and he said: "I started pretty similar to the first day, a little scrappy. I birdied the two par-fives and one other hole, but I had a couple of loose iron shots on the seventh and eighth which cost me bogeys there.
"I guess I didn't play very well today, but looking at the leaderboard, no one else really pulled away. I'm still going to be within striking distance going into tomorrow. If that's a bad day out of the way, then hopefully I can post a good one tomorrow.
"They need to keep the greens really soft and water them a lot and keep them slow. I've struggled all week with the speed of the greens and I've been leaving a lot of putts short, and you'd think after three days you should adjust, but it's still tough to get yourself to hit them.
"But the golf course is holding up well. It's not as if anyone is going super, super low. If I can sort of emulate what I did yesterday and post something in the low to mid 60s, hopefully I'll have a chance."
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McIlroy also revealed he found the muted atmosphere a little off-putting on "moving day", with only the occasional cheers ringing out from the residents of neighbouring properties.
"I feel for a Saturday afternoon, being in contention on the PGA Tour, it felt sort of weird out there," McIlroy added. "The first couple days it was fine, but definitely today it's feeling strange.
"And I'm sure tomorrow will feel pretty strange, especially with so many guys in and around the lead."