Rory McIlroy is 11 shots off runaway leader Dustin Johnson

Rory McIlroy is 11 shots off runaway leader Dustin Johnson heading into final round of £34m Tour Championship as Northern Irishman scores level-par 70 in third round

  • Rory McIlroy hit 10 yards into a lake during his closing hole in the third round
  • As such he disappeared a long way short of contention going into the final round
  • He will instead start a full 11 shots short of runaway leader Dustin Johnson
  • The Northern Irishman only managed a level-par 70 in his third round on Sunday

After duffing 10 yards into a lake during his closing hole on Saturday, Rory McIlroy had a good few ropey flights upon his resumption on Sunday. As such he disappeared a long way short of contention going into the final round of the Tour Championship.

He will instead start on Monday a full 11 shots short of runaway leader Dustin Johnson after the Northern Irishman only managed a level-par 70 in a third round hindered by wayward driving.

With nine fairways missed at East Lake, he was fighting a brutally hard battle to make serious inroads and ultimately he ended the day where he started, on eight under. Perhaps fittingly, he closed his loop of three birdies and three bogeys with a three-putt and a look of mild frustration.

Rory McIlroy hit 10 yards into a lake during his final hole on Sunday at the Tour Championship

The same could not be said for Johnson, who had battles of his own off the tee on Saturday but was exceptional with the driver on Sunday. By picking up six strokes in his third-round 64, he now stands at 19 under and five clear of the two-way tie between Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele for second. It would take some comeback and likely an implosion for Johnson to not take the title and the $15million FedEx Cup jackpot.

England’s Tyrrell Hatton, who also started the day on the fringes of contention, lost ground with a one-over round. Three bogeys and two birdies have left him at eight over for the tournament.

Meanwhile, Martin Kaymer’s long wait for a win incorporated another painfully close call on the European Tour.

McIlroy will instead start on Monday a full 11 shots short of runaway leader Dustin Johnson

Twice in the past eight days he has entered the final five holes of a tournament in the lead and yet his wait for a first win in six years in ongoing. This time it was the American John Catlin who denied him at the Andalucia Masters, with Catlin finishing two over to beat Kaymer by one stroke. A short missed putt on 17 will haunt Kaymer, who last won at the 2014 US Open.

The former world No 1 said: ‘‘t’s challenging to see the positives at the moment after these last couple of holes. I guess at the end of the day it’s the second week in a row contending with another four consecutive consistent rounds on a very difficult golf course.’

For Catlin, his most prominent taste of attention before Sunday came last month when he and his caddie Nathan Mulrooney were withdrawn from the English Championship at Hanbury Manor after they breached Covid-19 protocol. They had visited a restaurant outside the tournament bubble two days before the first round and the world No 227 was removed from the field by the European Tour.

England’s Tyrrell Hatton, who also started the day on the fringes of contention, lost ground




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