McIlroy tied for lead at RBC Canadian Open after bogey-free 64Goes bogey-free on the PGA TOUR for the first time since THE PLAYERS Championship
June 08, 2019
By Adam Stanley , PGATOUR.COM
Rory McIlroy's Round 3 highlights from RBC Canadian
HAMILTON, Ontario – As Rory McIlroy was coming up to the 18th green Saturday at the RBC Canadian Open, the crowd interspersed “Let’s Go Rory” chants in with “Let’s Go Raptors.”
It’s been that kind of week for McIlroy, with the crowd support being firmly behind the Ulsterman – and the local basketball team.
“It’s probably the best atmosphere I’ve played in a long time,” said McIlroy. “I think what they've been able to do here is like right on the limit of fun but still in keeping with the traditions of the game, so I think it's been awesome. I've really enjoyed my time here.
“I seem to get pretty good support most places I go, but for whatever reason here I think there are a lot people with Irish roots who seem to be very vocal out there. It's great to see. I'm really enjoying myself out there.”
McIlroy’s enjoyment of his time in Canada shone through Saturday after he shot a 6-under 64 to move into a tie for the lead heading into Sunday. He didn’t make a bogey in the third round, the first time he went bogey-free on the PGA TOUR since THE PLAYERS Championship, which he went on to win.
McIlroy missed the cut at the Memorial Championship presented by Nationwide last week, but said he was actually grateful for the opportunity to work on his game more last weekend, especially as he headed to a golf course he had never played before.
“I'm much happier than I was Saturday morning last week,” McIlroy said with a smile, as his 64 was tied for the low round of the day. “A week can make a big difference.”
McIlroy said he got his driver going better last weekend and tightened his wedge game as well. He described those two as things that are “definitely needed” around Hamilton Golf and Country Club.
McIlroy also spoke with Brad Faxon about Hamilton, as Faxon – who works occasionally with McIlroy on putting – lost in a playoff there in 2003.
McIlroy was 4-for-4 in Scrambling on Saturday and was ranked No. 1 in both Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green Saturday. he said he was able to put three P’s into practice again Saturday, a complete round thanks to patience, persistence, and perspective.
Rory McIlroy opens with with 371-yard drive at RBC Canadian
“They've done me well to this point. They're things I have to keep reminding myself of,” he said. “You know, whether I hit a good shot or bad shot or in a good spot or not, if I just keep preaching that to myself it just makes things -- it eases the tension and makes things a bit simpler.”
Although he said he started the week doing some preparatory work for Pebble Beach, that’s gone out the window as he looks to win on the PGA TOUR for the second time this season.
“You're here to try to win a golf tournament. I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to give it my all and try to compete,” he said. “I think the best preparation for tournaments ahead is to get yourself into contention and feel the heat of battle, and going down the stretch hitting the shots when you need to.”
If McIlroy did go on and win Sunday, it would be his sixth national open title from around the world (Irish, Hong Kong, The Open, the U.S. Open, and the Australian Open are the others).
“They're very important,” McIlroy said of national opens. “They're the oldest championships in our game for the most part.
“If I were able to win tomorrow, that would be my sixth, and that would be something I would be very proud of.”
Through three days, the fans have been cheering McIlroy on as one of their own, so not only would he be proud to win the RBC Canadian Open, the fans would be thrilled to have him as their winner.
“I've had a wonderful reception from everyone,” he said, “and I’m just excited to get to play in front of them again tomorrow.”