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Rory thrusting for Open Championship history

Final Round Preview – Royal & Ancient – 143rd Open Championship –Royal Liverpool– Hoylake, England –

At just 25 years old, Rory McIlroy is 18 holes from capturing the third leg of the career Grand Slam in golf.

At 16-under overall, he leads the 143rd Open Championship this week in England by six shots. In round third, McIlroy saw his four-shot lead vanish before he ramped it up with back-to-back eagles on the closing par-5s at No. 16 and 18 at Royal Liverpool.

His Saturday 67 places Rory within reach of the Claret Jug and title of Champion Golfer of the Year, but it’s far from a foregone conclusion. Rory did see his third-round led slip away as Rickie Fowler mounted a charge to tie for the lead.

McIlroy also has a history of poor rounds popping up at odd times. He opened 64-78 more than once this year and had the final-round meltdown while leading at Augusta a few seasons ago.

Alone in second at 10-under, Fowler plays in the final group of a major championship for the second straight time. He played alongside Martin Kaymer during his blowout run at the U.S. Open last month.

Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson could factor with some help from Rory and rounds in the mid-to-low 60s. They sit T-3 at 9-under overall. Garcia already has a quick birdie on the first hole to draw a shot closer.

But the story is Rory.

A 16-to-1 betting selection at www.ladbrokes.com heading into the week, McIlroy is 8th in the Official World Golf Ranking – moving up after a victory at the BMW PGA Championship in May. He is also making a run at the Open record against par, which is 19-under.

Tiger Woods finished up before the final group teed off. he shot 75 and fits near the bottom of the leader board as 72 players made the cut. Tom Watson thrilled the Open fans with a 68 in the final round.

Other Golf News:

  • Fowler’s major performances have been impressive this season. He finished T-5 at the Masters and T-2 at the U.S. Open.
  • Laura Diaz and Lee-Anne Pace are co-leaders at the LPGA Marathon Classic with one round to play. At 11-under overall, the duo tees off at 12:55 p.m. local time in Ohio. A host of players including Cristie Kerr and Women’s British Open champion Mo Martin are within three shots of the leaders. Rolex Ranking No. 2 Lydia Ko is in 5th place at 9-under and just two back.
  • To start the season, Rory was a 5-1 pick at Ladbrookes.com to win the Race To Dubai Standings. A victory at the Open will jump the former Race to Dubai champion up the standings list.