CHARLOTTE -- Rory McIlroy had the rest of his day all planned out.
A soccer match from England on TV Saturday afternoon. The welterweight fight between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana that night.And who knows? He might make time for the Kentucky Derby, too.
"Just relax and get ready for tomorrow afternoon," McIlroy said with a satisfied smile.
After all, the Northern Irishman got his work done early on Saturday morning -- firing a 65 that moved him to 6 under with one round remaining in the Wells Fargo Championship.
The scenario is strikingly similar to 2010 when McIlroy won the Wells Fargo Championship with a final-round 62. McIlroy made the cut on the number that year -- just as he did Friday. He shot 66 in the third round but went one better on Saturday.
Even some of the names on the leaderboard are the same as in 2010 -- Phil Mickelson and Angel Cabrera, among others. The irony is not lost on McIlroy, who turns 25 on Sunday.
"I remember that year I bogeyed 18 on the Saturday to shoot 66, so I had a putt on 18 to go one better, so that's why I gave it a fist pump; I was sort of thinking of that," he said. "But, yeah, it depends on where the guys are at the end of today. If I'm still within four or five shots going into tomorrow, I think I'll have a chance. We'll see what happens."
McIlroy had a much better day on the greens Saturday. He used just 25 putts -- six fewer than he had in Friday's 76 that saw him play his first four holes in 5 over. He's been struggling with his sight lines over the putter but some extra work on the practice greenafter the second round appears to have paid dividends.
"I figured a few things out on the putting green last night and tried to take it to the course today and really trust it, just notreally care if the ball went in the hole be or not but trust what I was doing and it worked," McIlroy said. "I putted really nicely,held some nice putts, held the putts that I needed to make and there you go."
The 11-stroke swing between the two rounds tied the biggest differential in his career. He shot 80-69 in rounds two and three,respectively, during the 2010 British Open.
McIlroy acknowledged that he had nothing to lose on Saturday. He was in the third group off the tee, playing with another former Wells Fargo Championship winner, Rickie Fowler.
Sunday, on the other hand, could be more of a challenge.
"It's a very different mentality, I think," McIlroy said. "... I hit a few more drivers out there, when I would have hit fairway woods the first couple of days, and just really aggressive, trying to make as many birdies as you can and get back into the tournament, and I was able to do that today.
"Tomorrow I will probably be chasing again so it will probably be the same thing but once you get yourself in the mix and you'releading or co-leading, it becomes a little different. Obviously you're still tying to make birdies but at the same time trying to limit the mistakes."
He's been there, done that, too.