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Wells Fargo Championship: Rory McIlroy fires himself into contention at Quail Hollow as Xander Schauffele leads

Rory McIlroy is one shot off the lead heading into the final round at Quail Hollow, trailing Xander Schauffele on 12-under par; live action from the Wells Fargo Championship continues on Sunday at 12.15pm for early coverage, with full coverage from 6pm on Sky Sports Golf

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Highlights of the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship, from the Quail Hollow Golf & Country Club

Rory McIlroy produced a second consecutive bogey-free round at the Wells Fargo Championship to move just one shot behind leader Xander Schauffele (-12) heading into Sunday's final round.

After an eventful opening-round 67 where he carded an eagle and six birdies to go with three bogeys and a double, the Northern Irishman has carded rounds of 68 on Friday and then 67 on Saturday.

Schauffele finished one under for the day, and that shot is enough to keep him in the lead heading into Sunday but McIlroy ate into his cushion at the top with birdies on holes 5, 9, 10 and 14.

Xander Schauffele hits from the fairway on the third hole during the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow Friday, May 10, 2024, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Erik Verduzco)
Image: Xander Schauffele leads the pack on 12 under at Quail Hollow

The two birdies either side of the turn pulled McIlroy within two shots, which became one when Schauffele bogeyed the 12th. The crowd then began chanting "Rory! Rory!" as the 25-year-old stepped to the 13th tee.

Seizing the momentum, McIlroy rolled in another birdie putt on 14 to move into a tie, but Schauffele matched that with a long birdie putt of his own moments later. Schauffele fought off McIlroy the rest of the way to hang on to the lead.

McIlroy caught a break on the difficult par-four 18th when his tee shot somehow avoided the creek on the left side of the fairway and came to rest sitting up in the tall grass. With a good lie, he found the edge of the green and two-putted for par to become the only player to not have a bogey on Saturday.

The World No 2 was all smiles after his round.

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McIlroy said: "Two days in a row bogey-free, now I know what Scottie Scheffler feels like! But yeah, I've played really well the last two days. Leaned on the driver a lot, driven the ball very, very well, which is a continuation of how I felt in New Orleans.

"I'm so comfortable on this golf course had success here before, amazing to get the support out there with the crowds and excited for one more day at it."

Only two other players sit within seven shots of the lead heading into Sunday, Sungjae Im of South Korea on eight-under par and Austrian Sepp Straka a shot further back after carding seven birdies in a round of 67.

Jason Day of Australia (73) is in fifth place at five-under under. Tied for sixth at four under are Sam Burns (70), Collin Morikawa (72), Byeong Hun An of South Korea (71), Taylor Pendrith of Canada (71) and Germany's Stephan Jaeger (71).

There is plenty at stake both literally and figuratively on Sunday as the sixth signature event of the season comes with a $20m (£16m) purse while also serving as the PGA Tour players' final tune-up before next week's PGA Championship, live on Sky Sports.

Watch Rory McIlroy in action at the Wells Fargo Championship and the PGA Championship this month live on Sky Sports. Early coverage continues from Quail Hollow on Sunday at 12.15pm, ahead of full coverage from 6pm. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, majors and more with NOW.

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