Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is playing in the RBC Canadian Open for the first time and obviously he feels right at home.
The fourth-ranked McIlroy recorded a bogey-free 64 that was the low score of the day to tie Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson for the lead heading to the final round at Hamilton Golf and Country Club www.hgcc.ca in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
“It’s probably the best atmosphere I’ve played in a long time,” said McIlroy (pictured), who has bounced back from a missed cut last week in the Memorial Tournament. “I think what they’ve been able to do here is like right on the limit of fun, but still in keeping with the traditions of the game, so I think it’s been awesome. I’ve really enjoyed my time here.
“I seem to get pretty good support most places I go, but for whatever reason here I think there are a lot people with Irish roots who seem to be very vocal out there. It’s great to see. I’m really enjoying myself out there.
“I’m much happier than I was Saturday morning last week. A week can make a big difference.”
McIlroy collected three birdies on each nine to grab a share of the lead at 13-under 197.
Simpson, who captured the 2012 U.S. Open and the 2018 Players Championship, shot a bogey-free 67, while Kuchar, who has won twice this season, totaled 69 after sharing the 36-hole lead.
“I think the times when it’s a guess this week I’ve guessed correctly,” said Simpson, who has played 54 holes without a bogey. “And I’ve been putting well, especially inside 10 feet. I’ve had to make a few six-, seven-footers, but so far they’ve gone in and haven’t made a blemish yet.”
Shane Lowry of Ireland made three straight birdies through No. 9 in a 66 and is one stroke back in a tie for fourth with Adam Hadwin of Canada, who had three birdies on the last five holes to shoot 67, and Brandt Snedeker, who posted a 60 in round two and followed that with a 69.
Henrik Stenson of Sweden totaled 68 and is three shots back in seventh, while Mackenzie Hughes of Canada is one more down in eighth after a 69, and Jonathan Byrd matched McIroy’s 64 and is five behind in a tie for ninth with Eric van Rooyen (68) of South Africa, Graeme McDowell (70) of Northern Ireland and Nick Taylor (73) of Canada.
Second-ranked Dustin Johnson, the defending champion, carded a 68 and is in tie for 17th that includes sixth-ranked Justin Thomas, who had a 69, while top-ranked Brooks Koepka is tied for 50th following a 72.
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