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Rory McIlroy loving Pinehurst as he hunts Major glory

Rory McIlroy loving Pinehurst as he hunts Major glory

Rory McIlroy was enjoying being tested to his limits as the No. 2 Course at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club bared its teeth on day three of the U.S. Open.

Rory McIlroy

The Northern Irishman was one of just seven players to break 70 on Saturday, a day McIlroy's Ryder Cup team-mate Shane Lowry described as "absolute mental torture".

McIlroy was of a different opinion as he said he "loved" the challenge and he will love it even more should he win a fifth Major Championship on Sunday.

The 35-year-old will go out three shots behind Bryson DeChambeau as he looks to end a near decade-long wait for Major glory and he is relishing the test ahead.

"I love the test that Pinehurst is presenting and you've got to focus and concentrate on every single shot out there," he said.

"It's what a U.S. Open should be like. It's obviously great to be in the mix.

"I think I'm embracing the questions that the golf course asks of you. I think there's holes where you have to be aggressive. There's holes where you have to be conservative.

"There's hole locations that you can take on and hit wedges close to. There's hole locations you've got to stay away from.

"It tests your chipping. It tests your putting. It obviously tests your mental fortitude more than any other golf tournament.

"As I said at the start of the week, it's a style of golf that I've started to try and embrace over these last few years and it's the reason that my performances at the U.S. Open have been much improved over the last half a decade."

Another man who carded a 69 to get to four under is Matthieu Pavon, who will go out alongside DeChambeau in the final group.

It will be a huge day for the Frenchman, who has only claimed his maiden DP World Tour and PGA TOUR victories in the last nine months, but he is taking it all in his stride.

"It's just golf," he said. "At the end of the day, it's me against the golf course. Even more in Majors, my only goal every time I show up is trying to beat the golf course.

"Here it's tough. The only thing I'm focused on is that goal, and this is what I'm going to do tomorrow."

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