Rory McIlroy fired a third consecutive five under par 67 to move within one shot of the lead and set up a mouth-watering final round at the Turkish Airlines Open.
The Northern Irishman had an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys at the Montgomerie Maxx to reach 15 under overall, one behind Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, the champion here two years ago, and South African Jaco Van Zyl, who had respective third rounds of 67 and 70.
Dubuisson, who made a brilliant Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles last year, birdied four of the last six holes and produced some trademark short-game wizardry to take a share of top spot.
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat is alongside McIlroy thanks to an impressive 66, a bogey at the par five last costing him a share of top spot, while BMW PGA Champion Byeong Hun An produced a superb 65 to share fifth place with England’s Chris Wood.
The Turkish Airlines Open is the first of four lucrative events comprising the Race to Dubai’s Final Series. With eight million points on offer at each, it heads to the WGC-HSBC Champions and the BMW Masters, both in Shanghai, before the season finale, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
“This is a course that I feel great on. My long game has been really, really good since the beginning of the year, but my short game was just really, really bad. I changed my putter about six weeks ago and it has been getting better and better since then, so my game feels in good shape. I’m very excited about tomorrow.”
Jaco Van Zyl
“There was some good play out there. If you're on your game and you hit it where you needed to be, there was a low one out there today. I played nicely the first nine holes, not too many mistakes. I had quite a few chances coming in on the back nine but let a couple slip through. At the end of the day, it’s an honour to be in this position. I'll go out there tomorrow and see what the golfing gods have got in store.”
“I didn’t get off to the start that I wanted to. I struggled to get any sort of energy going and then the bogey on ten was good to turn frustration into motivation and to play well those next few holes. The eagle on 13 was the spark that I needed to get myself up the leaderboard. I feel if I play the same way and execute a little bit better, there’s definitely a lower score out there for me. The three 67s I've shot this week, I feel like I've played very much within myself. So if I can get something going and get some momentum out there tomorrow, there’s no reason why I can't go lower than that. I'll be setting myself a target somewhere a little lower than 20 under and we'll see where we go from there. But with the guys that are up there on the leaderboard, there are so many birdie chances out there, someone could catch fire and get to 22, 23 tomorrow. Hopefully that’s me.”
“I’ve been playing quite well the last couple months and through this week, especially with my putting. I’ve been rolling it well all week. Today I made a good start with birdies on the first two holes and a lot of good shots. The chip-in on eight was great, but I struggled a bit in the middle and unfortunately bogeyed the last. At the moment that mistake is in my head, but I had to go for it – that’s my game.”