Rory McIlroy performed at St Andrews on Saturday for the first time since the final round of The Open when he had to watch Cameron Smith lift the burgundy pitcher after McIlroy could only handle the final round 2-to-70 on famous links. well.
World No. 2 fared slightly better in the third round of Alfred Dunhill Lynx’s DP World Tour Championship, scoring a 66 in the third round after bad weather on Friday morning when McIlroy hit 3 for 75 at Kingsbarns.
Full Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Results
McIlroy scared the first hole at Old Course after turning his run back into the burn short of the green, but didn’t score a single square for the rest of the day. Seven birdies, including the final short par-4 birdie 18thjumped the Northern Irishman into the top 10.
“It was good. You know, obviously we had a lot of rain yesterday and that softened the track,” McIlroy said. “So even though it was pretty windy out there, the ball was pretty soft wherever it landed. So today it was quite creditable, and the roughness was not raised, but it is quite generously prepared, obviously for amateurs. A lot of possibilities. .”
In this unique event, players walk through the old course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns and then through the 54-hole course. The final round is played on the Old Course.
Whether McIlroy can fight tomorrow depends a lot on one man, Richard Mansell.
The four-time world champion is eight shots behind Mansell before reaching the final round, but only four shots behind Ryan Fox, Alex Noren and Daniel Gavins, who are all T-2s.
If Mansell stumbles, a four-shot gap to the rest of the field is suddenly manageable. After all, this is the deficit that Smith made up for McIlroy at the same summer track.
“If I could get to the number that Richard has now, 15 (under), score 8 under tomorrow, at least you would go outside and you would have to make him shoot below par,” McIlroy said. “I think I could go out and that would be a worthy goal.”
However, this week in Scotland it’s not just about trophies. Dunhill Links is an event for the pros, and this week McIlroy, along with his father, Jerry, is making his way through some of the best courses in the world.
“Saturday at Dunhill, St. Andrews, playing with my dad… There’s nothing better than this,” McIlroy said. “It has been a great place for us as a family for a long time. A lot of memories are created here.”
His father was with him every step of the way as he developed into one of the best players of all time and McIlroy spoke about what it was like to have the support of his father as well as his mother as he went from being a kid in Northern Ireland to international glory.
“They both made a lot of sacrifices to potentially help me get to where I am today, but there were no guarantees,” McIlroy said. “I feel like I’m one of the lucky ones. I had amazing parents who were incredibly supportive and at the same time I was able to take advantage of the opportunities they gave me.”