A second consecutive 67 saw Rory McIlroy climb into contention on a windy Moving Day at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
As Jim Furyk maintained his overnight lead with a level par 70, World Number Three McIlroy put himself within five shots of the American with 18 holes to play thanks to a round that featured four birdies and just the one bogey.
McIlroy made back-to-back birdies on the second two holes of the day before impressive par saves on the fourth, fifth and sixth were consolidated by a third birdie of the day at the ninth to turn in 32 blows, while the Northern Irishman’s only dropped shot of the day came at the par four 11th.
After making birdie at the 667-yard 16th to go back to three under par, McIlroy missed a good chance for birdie at the 17th but was happy to escape with par at the last after his approach came up short.
“My confidence is getting there, it definitely is,” said McIlroy. “I've worked hard to get it back. The last few weeks have been tough and obviously my expectations every time I tee it up are pretty high; it’s not nice living up to my own expectations but I feel like I'm definitely moving in the right direction.
With so many victors coming from behind to win this year, the 23 year old knows he is still in with a realistic chance of overhauling the field on Sunday.
He said: “Obviously it depends how far Furyk is ahead of the rest of the field but if I can go ahead and shoot a good one tomorrow and post a good finish or if I go ahead and get off to a really fast start and get myself right in there with a chance, then there's no better way to prepare for next week.”
Vying to win his second World Golf Championship in succession after triumphing at March’s WGC-Cadillac Championship in Florida, Justin Rose is a further shot back at five under par with 18 holes to play after signing for a four under par 66 on Saturday, and despite making bogey at the 18th the Englishman was satisfied with his progress.
“I nearly kept a clean sheet today which would have been impressive because it's definitely windy out there, and on this golf course you don't get away with all that much,” said the 32 year old. “I had sand wedge in my hand there on 18 and it hit the bank and sucked back off the green. It’s very difficult to know which greens are firm, which are soft at the moment.
“But all in all I’m really happy; I'm beginning to score, which is nice. I feel like of late I haven't been making that many putts but I've been seeing a few go in the hole this week. It looks like tomorrow is going to be a little rough weather wise so who knows.”