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The Tour Report

September 22 2012

7:31 PM

McIlroy eager for Sunday’s challenge

Interview: Rory McIlroy

Following a third-round 68, Rory McIlroy talks about his play at East Lake with Fred Albers from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

ATLANTA --  Rory McIlroy thinks 10 under is a good target score.

If he can get there on Sunday, the young Northern Irishman figures he has a great chance to win the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola -- as well as the FedExCup. He controls his own destiny with a win, but so does Brandt Snedeker, who is currently tied for the lead at 8 under, three strokes ahead of McIlroy.

And don't forget Tiger Woods, who starts the final round at 4 under. He came into the week ranked second to McIlroy's first-place standing in the FedExCup and has his eye on the $10 million prize for the third time in the competition's six-year history.

"They're not up at the top of the standings for nothing," McIlroy said. "They're playing well. They've played well the last few weeks. So, yeah, I knew coming in here if I won, I'd win everything, and that's still my attitude going into tomorrow."

McIlroy is hardly the underdog. He won the last two Playoffs events and is the top seed, and until Snedeker birdied the 17th hole on Saturday, he was still projected No. 1.

And there are plenty of permutations that would put the silver Tiffany trophy in McIlroy's hands and the $10 million in his bank account without a win. So he's looking forward to the challenge on Sunday. 

"It's going to be one of the most exciting Sundays of the year," McIlroy said. "There are a few guys still in it with a chance to win the FedExCup to win this tournament. So looking forward to it. Great to be in the mix. Only three back, so I'm excited about the prospect of a very exciting finish tomorrow." 

McIlroy has flirted with the 64 or 65 he figures he'll need to shoot in the final round at East Lake. He just hasn't found enough fairways, only 50 percent over the first three rounds, to let him go aggressively at the greens. And many of those birdie putts have stubbornly refused to fall.

McIlroy has stayed patient, though -- a state of mind that has marked an impressive run that includes wins in three of his last four starts, the first of which was an eight-stroke victory at the PGA Championship.

"You go play the first hole, and you see how you do there,” McIlroy said. “Then you play the second, and you see how you do there. It's all you're really doing. That's the way I feel like I have been playing for the last few weeks."