Rory McIlroy is confident of his ability to best end his major drought by winning the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews.
McIlroy and playing mate Victor Hovland finished 16-under, matching the third round of 66 on the Old Course and extending a four-shot lead over the chasing pack led by Cameron Smith and Cameron Young.
“We fed each other really well,” said McIlroy, who on the 10th came out of a bunker for an eagle and scored five birdies. “We both put ourselves in a great position to go in tomorrow.
“I know I’ll need another day like the last three days to get the job done.”
McIlroy picked up Claret Jug in 2014 and won the US PGA Championship a month later, but injury prevented him from defending his title at St Andrews in 2015 and he waited a long time for greater success.
“It’s going to mean everything because of what I’ve been through over the years,” said the world number two.
“But here we are talking about not getting ahead of ourselves… I need to go out and maintain the same mindset that I have had in the last three days…
“I have a lot of confidence in myself. I’ve done it before, I know I can do it again. I just have to go out and be in my own little world, shoot a good score and hopefully That’s enough.”
when is it?
The 150th edition of The Open will take place on 14-17 July at the Old Course, St Andrews. So, Thursday to Sunday this week.
What time does it start?
For the first two rounds, the opening starts at 6.35 am. The last group is running at 4.16.
Which TV channel is this on?
The 150th Open will be shown live on Sky Sports. Alternatively, bookmark this page and follow Telegraph Sport’s live coverage of all four days.
Matt Fitzpatrick surprisingly admitted he was not a St Andrews fan, but insisted he looked forward to taking charge on the final day at the 150th Open.
“I’ll be honest, I’m not really a fan,” said the 27-year-old Yorkshireman, ending the third round at nine under par. “It’s difficult.”
The US Open champion started the fourth round on the Old Course after seven strokes from the lead of Rory McIlroy and Victor Hovland. Fitzpatrick scored five birdies in a three-under-par 69 to level for eighth place and felt that he simply did not receive a reward for his efforts.
“You can hit good shots and get bad bounces, and you can hit bad shots and get good bounces,” he said. “I thought, for the first seven holes, I didn’t really miss a shot, but I’m running through the seventh green and I’m plus one.
“It’s hard to take. It’s hard to be patient. But I managed to put in a few puts and that always makes you feel a little bit better.”
Fitzpatrick has a lot to follow up on last month’s success at Brookline with a second consecutive big win and admits he’ll need some favors. He added: “I’ve never won seven back before so there’s always a first. But I think, looking at the golf course and how it plays out in the afternoon, they’ll have to come back to me.”
Fitzpatrick’s comments are in stark contrast to the enthusiasm expressed by McIlroy for the “holy grail” of golf.
Three-time Open champion Bobby Jones said the career of an elite player would not be complete without lifting the claret jug on the Old Course. When asked about Jones’ quote last week, McIlroy said, “I don’t know if a golfer’s career isn’t complete, but I think it’s the holy grail of our sport.”
What happened last year?
Colin Morikawa held off a late surge to win over Jordan Spieth at Royal St George, with the American finishing at 15-under.
Telegraph Sport’s golf correspondent James Corrigan described Morikawa as “unstoppable, unmistakable and unbelievable” after adding the Open Championship to the US PGA title he collected in 2020.
If anyone has any doubts about this Californian’s class consider that he only turned pro in June 2019 and it was only his eight majors – and only Bobby Jones has won two quicks.
What are the latest possibilities?
Rory McIlroy 10/11
Victor Hovland 7/4
Cameron Smith 10/1
Scotty Scheffler 18/1
Cameron Young 25/1
What are the tee times?
Sunday – Fourth Round (All Time BST)
United States unless specified; (x) denotes amateurs
0720 Sam Bairstow (England) (x)
0730 Jamie Rutherford (England), Wyndham Clark
0740 Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), David Law (SCO)
0750 Sam Burns, Sungjae Im (Core)
0800 Garrick Higo (Rs.), Adri Arnaus (ESP)
0810 Patrick Reed, Laurie Cantor (England)
0825 Cameron Tringell, Joaquin Niemann (CHL)
0835 Aaron Jarvis (KE) (X), Jordan Smith (Eng)
0845 Barclay Brown (England) (X), Danny Willett (Eng)
0855 Sebastian Munoz (Col), Robert Dinwiddie (England)
0905 Lars van Meijel (Ned), Yuto Katsuragawa (JPN)
0915 Kurt Kitayama, Jason Kokraki
0930 Justin Thomas, Marcus Armitage (England)
0940 Paul Casey (England), Jason Scrivener (Australia)
0950 Justin de los Santos (FEI), Tony Finau
1000 Thomas Detri (Bell), Thriston Lawrence (Rs.)
1010 Sergio Garcia (ESP), Corey Connors (Can)
1020 Adrian Meronek (Pole), John Parry (England)
1040 Robert McIntyre (SCO), Talor Gooch
1050 Sodom Kawkanjana (Was), Abraham Anser (Mex)
1100 David Carey (IRL), Lee Westwood (England)
1110 Harold Warner III, Joo-hyung Kim (corps)
1120 Brad Kennedy (Australia), Filippo Celli (Ita) (x)
1130 Billy Horschel, Chris Kirk
1145 Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rs.), Richard Mansell (England)
1155 Sahit Thegla, Min Woo Lee (Australia)
1205 Lucas Herbert (Australia), Xander Schöffele
1215 John Rahm (ESP), Victor Perez (Fr)
1225 Nikolai Hojgaard (Dane), Will Zlatoris
1235 Ian Poulter (England), Anthony Quayle (Australia)
1255 Dean Burmester (Rs.), Aaron Wise
1305 Dylan Fritelli (Rs.), Russell Henley
1315 Bryson DeChambeau, Francesco Molinari (Ita)
1325 Tre Mullinex, Tyrell Hatton (England)
1335 Shane Lowry (IRL), Brian Herman
1345 Thomas Peters (Bell), Kevin Kissner
1400 Patrick Cantley, Jordan Spieth
1410 Adam Scott (Australia), Matt Fitzpatrick (England)
1420 Tommy Fleetwood (England), Dustin Johnson
1430 Scotty Scheffler, Si Woo Kim (Core)
1440 Cameron Smith (Australia), Cameron Young
1450 Rory McIlroy (NIRL), Victor Hovland (NOR)