Belfast Telegraph

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McIlroy increases lead

Rory McIlroy increased his lead to eight strokes, settling nicely after an erratic start to his US Open third round.

Swede Fredrik Jacobson showed what was possible by charging from 25th to second with six birdies in his first 11 holes.

But as he failed to get up and down from a bunker at the short 13th, McIlroy, forced to wait until 3.50pm to resume his bid to succeed compatriot Graeme McDowell as champion, almost holed from the sand at the 470-yard fourth for another great save. He proceded to birdie the fifth, moving to 12 under par.

On the 466-yard third, McIlroy pushed his drive into thick rough and with branches in front of him he opted to chip out, then pitched from 100 yards to three feet.

By then playing partner YE Yang, the only man within nine shots of the Northern Irishman overnight, had slipped seven behind, straying into a bunker off the tee at the short second and failing even to make the green from there.

McIlroy had resumed on 11 under par, his 131 for the first 36 holes setting a new record for the 111-year-old championship and his six-stroke advantage equalling that of Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach in 2000.

Woods had gone on to win by a major record 15, but he, of course, was not carrying the baggage of a closing 80 at The Masters just two months earlier - and that from four in front after three rounds.

First of the Europeans into action on Saturday had been Luke Donald and the only leaf he took out of McIlroy's book was to repeat his double bogey on the 18th.

After dropping three shots in the last two holes for a three over par 74 and seven over aggregate - 18 adrift of his Ryder Cup team-mate - England's world number one was not even in the top 60.

A bad drive cost him a shot on the 437-yard 17th and at the last his ball collected mud off the wet fairway - there had been two rain delays on Friday - and his six-iron approach went right and long into the lake.


From Belfast Telegraph