McIlroy In Contention After 'Confidence Building' 65 in Abu Dhabi

The four-time major winner has only had one bogey this week at his comeback tournament.

BY Will O'Callaghan 18:43 Saturday 20 January 2018, 18:43 20 Jan 2018

Kamran Jebreili/AP/Press Association Images

A stunning third-round 65 has seen Rory McIlroy move within one shot of the joint-leaders Thomas Pieters and Ross Fisher at 16-under after 54 holes at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The Northern Irishman is playing at his first tournament since a win-less, injured plagued, season ended in October.

The four-time major winner's continued his day-to-day scoring improvement with a round of 65, following on from Thursday's 69 and Friday's 66.


McIlroy had eight birdies this morning with the only blot on the copybook a bogey on the 15th, though he recovered with a chip-in birdie on 17 and picked up another shot on the last. 

The world number 11 has finished second on four occasions in Abu Dhabi and he's hoping to kick the season off with a win tomorrow.

"It would mean a lot. I've had a lot of close calls here, I think about six top threes or something like that.

"I've never won my first start back out. I was close last year in South Africa, Stormy beat me in a play-off.

"I'm excited to get back on the horse and give myself another chance tomorrow."

"I said all week, I felt like this is where my game was in practice, but it's always different trying to go from the range on to the golf course, and even in practice rounds.

"I putted really well and hit the ball very well.

"So all in all, it was another great round and another really good confidence builder - not just for this week but for the rest of the season, as well."

 Kamran Jebreili/AP/Press Association Images

Greystones' Paul Dunne is also well placed into the final round at 13-under. 

The British Masters champion had an error free seve-under 65 today to move within three shots of Pieters and Fisher. 

Peter Lawrie joined Nathan Murphy and Joe Molloy on 'Golf Weekly' to discuss McIlroy's return to tournament golf after a three month break.



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