Rory McIlroy eager to end long wait: I have to make it my turn

Oleh Chris Myson 24 Januari 2021 14
Rory McIlroy eager to end long wait: I have to make it my turn

Rory McIlroy knows he must earn the right to end his wait for glory at the Abu Dhabi Championship after setting up what could be a thrilling final day.

The four-time major winner stormed back into the lead of the tournament on day three to set up a finale that will see him duel with Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood for glory.

McIlroy was five shots behind Hatton overnight but after a strong finish to his delayed second round and a five-under 67 in round three, he now leads by one.

He sits on 13 under for the tournament, closely followed by Hatton at 12 under, while Fleetwood – a two-time winner at the event – is a further shot behind.

McIlroy has won a host of titles in his glittering career, but is yet to triumph in a Rolex Series event.

Having impressively been runner-up in Abu Dhabi four times and also come third on three occasions, he was asked ahead of Sunday's battle whether his time had come.

"I can't go into the day thinking it is my turn," said world number six McIlroy, who had an eagle on the 10th and five birdies.

"I want to make it my turn. I have to go out there and continue to hit the ball like I hit it on the back nine.

"If I can do that and give myself plenty of chances, I will have a really good chance.

"It's so blustery - a different type of golf than we're used to playing in Abu Dhabi. Usually not much wind and you have a chance on every hole but there is a little more scrambling involved and longer putts.

"So I thought I did well. Obviously had that big stroke of luck on 10, the ball hitting the pin and going in. 

"Apart from that, I played well. I drove it much better on the back nine and I hit it much better on the back nine, so I was really encouraged about that."

Hatton was in control of the tournament overnight but now faces a Sunday scrap, though he is relishing the challenge.

"It's pretty cool group to be a part of," said Hatton, who is eyeing a fourth Rolex Series win. 

"I'm sure the standard of golf will be pretty good and I'm hoping that I can play well and give myself a chance to win.

"You're always going to have days like that and you just try and get through it and the good thing is that I'm still in contention going into the final round. 

"Obviously one shot back which isn't ideal but a lot can happen in 18 holes. Hopefully things go my way."

Fleetwood produced consecutive rounds of 67 to move into contention after starting with a 71.

"I played well and solid," he said. "Really good round of golf and just happy to be in contention again."

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Chris Myson

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