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Rory McIlroy's monster drive, Jon Rahm's hole-in-one and Justin Thomas magic at the WGC Mexico Championship

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North Irish golfer Rory Mcllory watches his tee shot from the 2st hole, during the third round of the World Golf Championship, at Chapultepec's Golf Club in Mexico City, on February 22, 2020. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP) (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images)

North Irish golfer Rory Mcllory watches his tee shot from the 2st hole, during the third round of the World Golf Championship, at Chapultepec's Golf Club in Mexico City, on February 22, 2020. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP) (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

North Irish golfer Rory Mcllory watches his tee shot from the 2st hole, during the third round of the World Golf Championship, at Chapultepec's Golf Club in Mexico City, on February 22, 2020. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP) (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy struggled to keep pace with his rivals at the WCG Mexico Championship after a low scoring third round saw Justin Thomas storm into the lead.

On a day when Spain's Jon Rahm hit a stunning round of 61 that included a memorable hole-in-one on the 17th, McIlroy's round of 68 looked modest as he finished the day four behind leader Thomas.

"Rory has got to come out and shoot something low on Sunday," said former Ryder Cup captain and Sky Sports analyst Paul McGinley. "He plays his best when he has his blinkers on and he has one destination in mind, which is the top of that leaderboard.

"He missed a couple of putts and hopefully tomorrow he can come out with a focus and he will need that because Justin Thomas is setting a pace here and he will be tough to live with.

"I can't see beyond Thomas winning this event from here, but you never know in this game."

Despite his failure to find a burst of birdies, McIlroy displayed his power from the tee with a remarkable 410-yard drive on the par-four 12th hole, which he managed to get hole high.

It was a high point for McIlroy, but he was out-gunned by Thomas, who backed up his round of 66 on Friday with a dominant round of 65 on Saturday to open up a one-shot lead over South Africa's Erik van Rooyen, with America's Patrick Reed a further shot behind.

Rham's course record included a moment to savour as he hit the bullseye from the tee on the 17th hole, with his tee shot disappearing into the hole on the first bounce to spark wild celebrations from all in the group.

Rahm had started the third round 10 strokes off the lead on one-under at Chapultepec Golf Club, but he is firmly in contention heading into the final round on Sunday.

"I think a lot of us like to talk sometimes about how unlucky we get,” said Rahm. “I think today was one of those days where I got fortunate. I hit the right shots and I got the right bounces, and I took advantage of it.

"With the start I had today, the only thing in mind was trying to get as close as possible to the leaders. If I had a good finish, I was going to have a chance tomorrow, and that's kind of what gave me a second wind on the back nine.

"After four holes, I basically had tap-in, tap-in, tap-in and 10 feet for birdie, and I thought it could be a really special day, and then backing it up with a great birdie on six and seven and a great tee shot on eight.

"I had a little bit of a hiccup, a three-putt on the eighth, and it's just a difficult hole, but everything balances out. I'm just really happy that, after the first two days I'm going to have a legitimate chance on Sunday without needing to shoot 59 or something like that.

"I just need to stay focused on what I have to do, knowing that I'm not going to get as lucky as I did today, and maybe know that I'm not going to make every putt I look at.

"I'm under control of my golf swing and keep hitting the right shots and hopefully get a decent start and give the leaders something to think about."

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