It would seem that Canada could experience some deja vu with Rory McIlroy sitting atop the leaderboard with one round remaining at the RBC Canadian Open.
“I’m just happy to give myself a chance, be in the final group,” said McIlroy, who won this event the last time the national championship was played three years ago at Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
“I feel like all aspects of my game are in pretty good shape, so just go out there and try and post a number and see if that’s good enough,” said McIlroy, who had just one bogey in firing a five-under 65 in Saturday’s third round at St, George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
McIlroy posted a 61 in the final round when he won at Hamilton three years ago and his co-leader this year came close to that score on Saturday when Tony Finau shot an eight-under 62.
“I didn’t finish the way I wanted to (Friday) and I think all it did was kind of light a fire in my belly to get after it today. That’s pretty much what I did. I made some birdies and I just played really clean golf,” said Finau.
“Then ,when I made an eagle on 9 I kind of knew then I was like, `Oh, wow, we’re climbing up that leaderboard,’” he added.
Both Finau and McIlroy are at 11 under, with Justin Thomas, Sam Burns, Wyndham Clark and Alex Smalley two shots off the lead in a four-way tie for third.
Thomas fired a 63 on Saturday to move into contention.
“I took advantage of some of the opportunities when I had them there in kind of the middle of the course and just stayed patient and waited for my run,” said Thomas.
Austin Cook and Jim Knous are tied for seventh at seven under, four shots off the lead.
Nick Taylor leads the Canadian contingent after he shot a 67 on Saturday. At five under through three rounds, Taylor goes into Sunday’s finale in a tie for 15th.
“I feel like I wasted a few shots the first couple days. I had some good rounds going and kind of let them slip away, but I’m happy with today,” said Taylor.
“It’s out there, it’s a good course for me and if I can keep doing what I’m doing, I feel like I have a low round in me,” he said.
Corey Conners started the third round with a bogey on the par three third hole, but birdied the next par three at six before three consecutive birdies between the 10th and 12th holes and another at 16 as he finished the day with a 66 that left him tied for 19th at four under.
“I was able to hole some putts at key times, especially in the beginning of the round, made a couple nice par savers. Yeah, didn’t make too many mistakes after that,” said Conners.
“I felt like I played pretty solidly, just took care of a couple of the par fives with two-putts and was able to make a couple other birdies. I still feel like I left a few out there. but happy with how I played. You can’t really force things out there – the course is still playing quite tricky,” he added.
Adam Svensson is just a shot behind Conners in a tie for 29th after firing a 67 Saturday.
There is a 70 per cent chance of showers with the risk of a thunderstorm for Sunday’s final round. The high is expected to be 21 C, with wind gusts to 30 km/hr.
Due to the weather, final round tee times will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. with threesomes off the first and ninth tees.
All of the scores are here.
Final round tee times are here.