BETHESDA, Md. – Quite a few players shot good rounds Saturday to move up the leader board during the third round of the U.S. Open, but they’re all staring at the taillights of Rory McIlroy well out in front of them.
McIlroy, who established an Open record with a 36-hole score of 11-under 131, birdied two holes on the front nine of Congressional Country Club to get to 13-under par, tying his own Open record for most shots under par.
The 22-year-old McIlroy sank a 12-foot birdie putt at the fifth hole, then reached the green of the par-5 ninth in two and 2-putted from 30 feet to increase his lead to eight strokes.
Lee Westwood, the world’s No. 2 player, and Jason Day each shot a 65 – tying McIlroy’s first-round score for the best 18-hole total of the tournament – and moved into second place at 5-under 208. Both teed off nearly 2 ½ hours before McIlroy.
Fredrik Jacobsen also got to 5-under for the tournament before a bogey at the 13th, but his 66 put him in the clubhouse at 4-under 209.
Y.E. Yang, who entered the day six shots behind, the closest to McIlroy, after two rounds, had a bogey at No. 2 plus eight pars to be in the 4-under group with Jacobsen and Robert Garrigus, who was through 10 holes.
Defending champion Graeme McDowell had his best round of the Open, a 69, and was at even-par 213. Phil Mickelson, still the crowd favorite, suffered back-to-back double bogeys at the 16th and 17th holes to finish with a 77 and a 54-hole score of 220.