Rory McIlroy is feasting on chicken sandwiches at the U.S. Open and hungry for another major

Rory McIlroy has put himself in position to chase his fifth major championship title on his first Father's Day.

Rory McIlroy is feasting on chicken sandwiches at the U.S. Open and hungry for another major

SAN DIEGO – Rory McIlroy racked his brain. He was trying to recall the last time he went to sleep in the thick of contention to win one of golf’s four majors.

“It feels like a while since I’ve had a chance,” he said.

Well, it’s been 2,505 days since McIlroy hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy as the winner of the 2014 PGA Championship, not that anyone was counting. That was 24 majors ago.

“I’m trying to think of the last time where I really felt like I had a chance. Carnoustie in ’18 felt like I maybe had half a chance, going into the final day at Pebble in 2019. But apart from that, there’s been some good finishes but never felt like I was in the thick of things,” he said. “I’m just excited for the opportunity to have a chance and be in one of the final groups.”

On the 10th anniversary of his U.S. Open victory at Congressional, his first of four major titles, McIlroy signed for a 4-under 67 at Torrey Pines’ South Course and a 54-hole aggregate of 3-under 210, tied for fourth and just two strokes off the pace.

McIlroy, who shot his lowest round in a major since the third round of the 2020 Masters, was pleased with his tee-to-green game and called his performance in the third round “the best he played all week.” After making a total of 10 bogeys during the first two rounds, McIlroy only made one on Saturday. The difference?

“You have to accept that middle of greens and pars are good, and I got into that mindset today,” he said. “Nothing flashy.”

That’s a formula that never goes out of style at the U.S. Open. McIlroy made a birdie at the second hole and reeled off seven straight pars to close the front nine. He made a short birdie at No. 10 and then holed a flop shot for birdie at No. 12, lifting his 60-degree wedge to the sky in celebration. One hole later, he smoked a fairway wood from 270 yards that caromed off the flagstick at the par 5 and made a two-putt birdie.

“It took a nick out of the flag,” McIlroy said. “(Caddie) Harry (Diamond) called it the best shot I hit all year.”

His lone hiccup happened at 15 when he pulled his tee dead left into the barranca, near a rattlesnake, and took a penalty stroke for an unplayable. He did yeoman’s work to salvage a bogey.

“This is the only tournament in the world where you fist pump a bogey. Only losing one there was a big deal, and getting it up-and-down out of the bunker on 16 and making that birdie on 18 just to get that shot back that I lost, really big.”

McIlroy twirled his club as his second shot to the par-5 18th settled on the dance floor, and a two-putt birdie closed out a sterling 67. McIlroy said he felt a pair of 68s on the weekend would serve him well.

U.S. Open - Round Three

Rory McIlroy reacts with caddie Harry Diamond after putting out on the 17th hole during the third round of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

“I’ve done the first part of that job. Now it’s up to me tomorrow to go out and try to play a similar round of golf,” he said.

To do so, McIlroy will have to go toe-to-toe with defending U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and chase down 54-hole co-leaders Russell Henley, another upstart Mackenzie Hughes of Canada, and 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.

It’s been 24 majors since McIlroy’s come out on top at a major, but he’s the most experienced of the contenders in these situations. Despite never having won a major when trailing after 54 holes, he’s proven before that he has the mental fortitude required to be a U.S. Open champion.

“It’s the most demanding golf tournament in the world, mentally, and you have to keep your wits about yourself and really stay present and stay in the moment,” McIlroy said. “Even when I was going well today I had to remind myself of that. Twenty-eleven felt like a walk in the park compared to this. You know, if I want to get another U.S. Open trophy, I’m going to have to fight for it a little more than I did 10 years ago.”

First, he was going to enjoy some family time on the eve of his first Father’s Day as a father. McIlroy and wife Erica and daughter Poppy are staying at the Torrey Pines Lodge overlooking the 18th green, where he has feasted on the same chicken sandwich five nights in a row from room service.

“So, I’ll probably make it six nights in a row,” he said. “It’s rotisserie chicken, avocado, sun dried tomatoes, some garlic aioli and some ‘holey’ bread. It’s really good.”

That’s not all that McIlroy is hungry for; he’s hungry for another major too, and he just might get the best Father’s Day present of all, major championship No. 5, on Sunday.

“Mother’s Day was pretty good to us a few weeks ago,” said McIlroy, referencing his victory last month at the Wells Fargo Championship. “So, hopefully we can have the same result on Father’s Day.”

Source : Golf Week More   

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U.S. Open: Bryson DeChambeau proves that bomb-and-gouge works coast to coast

Bryson DeChambeau carded his first bogey-free round in a major on Saturday using a strategy that has already won him one U.S. Open.

U.S. Open: Bryson DeChambeau proves that bomb-and-gouge works coast to coast

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau isn’t giving up possession of his title as reigning U.S. Open champion without a fight.

The winner of the national championship at New York’s Winged Foot Golf Club in September is proving that his bomb-and-gouge brand of golf works from coast to coast. In his 67th major-championship round, DeChambeau posted his first bogey-free round in a major on Saturday at Torrey Pines’ South Course.

DeChambeau carded a 3-under 68 to climb within two strokes of the lead at the 121st U.S. Open, and vault into a tie for fourth place with Rory McIlroy (67). Only Louis Oosthuizen (70), Russell Henley (71) and Mackenzie Hughes (67), who share the lead at 5-under 208, are ahead of him.

DeChambeau continued to bash driver on nearly every hole – leading the field in driving distance – and it didn’t seem to matter that he hit only five of 14 fairways in the third round as he led the field in greens in regulation.

“Normally, you would say that he has to do better than that tomorrow,” said NBC’s Paul Azinger. “But I’m not sure he does. He’s had a zillion chances for birdie today.”

Fellow NBC commentator John Wood agreed: “I think half of the ones that he missed were tactical. I don’t think he was trying to hit the fairway on those.”

DeChambeau got away with missing the first fairway, hoisting an iron from the right fairway bunker that peppered the flag and he opened with birdie. He got his next birdie after crushing a drive at the 534-yard sixth hole and wedging to 6 feet. One hole later, his erratic driver cost him a stroke as he drove right into a penalty area, but he dropped on a hardpan lie and managed to save par with a brilliant recovery to 6 feet. He had to scramble for par at Nos. 14 and 18, too, and used his length to his advantage in making his last birdie of the day at the par-5 13th.

“That’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to be really patient out here at these majors. It’s something that is not easy to do,” he said. “My first few goes at majors, I was not successful or anywhere near successful, and I feel like I’m starting to understand major championship golf and how to play it and how to go about managing my game, my attitude and just my patience level. If I can continue to do that tomorrow, I think I’ll have a good chance.”

That’s what DeChambeau was hoping for after struggling to 73 on Thursday, but he claimed he found something in his swing while he was sleeping and has improved his score each day – shooting 69 and 68, just the third bogey-free round of the championship, since his swing tweak. DeChambeau rallied from two shots back in September to win by six strokes and he said he’ll be ready for whatever challenge the course presents as he seeks to become the eighth player to successfully defend his U.S. Open title and first since Brooks Koepka in 2018.

“If they make it hard and tuck pins, it’s going to be a very difficult championship. It’s going to be hold on to your horses. If they make some of the pins accessible and move the tees up like they did (today), you’re going to have to go at it,” he explained. “You just have to recognize the golf course in the moment, in the conditions at hand because if there’s no wind tomorrow or if there’s a lot of wind, that’s going to change a lot of factors, too. It’s about adapting on the spot.”

On Moving Day at the 121st U.S. Open, DeChambeau was on the mark.

Source : Golf Week More   

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