Rory McIlroy is on course to winning his first major since 2014. McIlroy and Norway’s Viktor Hovland share the lead at The British Open on 16-under after 54 holes, four shots ahead of Cameron Smith and Cameron Young.
So will McIlroy complete the job today at St Andrews to lift his second Claret Jug and a fifth major?
Here are some fascinating insights ahead of the showdown:
McIlroy goes into today’s final round enjoying a 54-hole lead at a major for the sixth time. Save for the infamous collapse at Augusta in 2010, he has won four times while in pole position. He’s been in fine form this year enjoying a 54-hole lead at a major for the first time since 2014. McIlroy has finished in the top 10 in all the three majors this year, for the first time in his career. If he wins today, he will be the first British player to win The Open in 32 years since Nick Faldo in 1990.
Will the curse of the 54-hole leader stop McIlroy? South African Louis Oosthuizen was the last player to win a major after enjoying a 54 holes lead when he triumphed at the 2010 Open Championship.
In the tournament’s 29-year-old history at St Andrews, every winner of the Open has been within four shots of the lead after 54 holes. This means that though McIlroy and Hovland enjoy a healthy lead, the chasing pair of Young and Smith still stand a chance to upstage the leaders. Seven of the top 12 players in the Official World Ranking are within 8 shots of the co-leaders.
McIlroy and Hovland are currently at 16 under four shots clear of the chasing pack. The lowest winning score at St Andrews in the last 20 years is -19, posted by Tiger Woods in 2000. Zack Johnson won the event at St Andrews in 2015 with a score of -15.