Hoylake (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Rory McIlroy will take a six-stroke lead into Sunday's British Open finale, but his experience at Wentworth in May means he is taking nothing for granted.
On that occasion he started the final round seven shots adrift of leader Thomas Bjorn. But by the end of the day he had won his first tournament of the year.
What goes around can come around when it is a case of protecting a final round lead in golf, McIlroy believes.
"I noticed coming off the 11th tee at Wentworth that Thomas (Bjorn) and Luke (Donald) had made 7s on the 6th hole. So I knew that it was my opportunity," he said.
"This was my chance to make a few birdies. And there were some birdie opportunities coming up for me, par-4 11th, par-5 12.
"And I knew that I could make up some ground on them and maybe put a bit of pressure on them.
"Yeah, I'll try and avoid the big numbers tomorrow, like what they did at Wentworth. Just try and keep it nice and tight, and play another good solid round of golf."
Solid rounds of golf have been commonplace for McIlroy of late after his woes of last year when he somewhat lost his way both on and off the course.
But a win late on in the year in the Australian Open showed that he had started to turn the corner and this year he has been going from strength to strength, despite his much-publicised breakup from tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.
He has looked totally at ease of late on the course as well, evidence of which was the superb ease with which he bagged his two eagles in the last three holes of the third round just as the pressure on him was at its most severe.
"I feel very comfortable. I'm comfortable in this position. I'm comfortable sort of leading the tournament. This is the third night in a row that I'll sleep on the lead," he said.
"It helps that I've been in this position before and I've been able to convert and I've been able to get the job done.
"Just really comfortable with my golf game. Comfortable with how I'm hitting it. Really comfortable on the greens.
"I feel like that's been a big help this week. And I just need to go out there tomorrow and play one more solid round and hopefully that's enough."
Potential Grand Slam at 25
If it is enough it will mean that McIlroy has won three of golf's four majors and would stand just a Masters victory away from joining Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen as the only players to have completed the fabled Grand Slam of golf.
Were he to do so next April at Augusta National he would, at 25, be the second youngest ever to have won all four after Woods who was 24.
"Not a lot of people have achieved the career Grand Slam. And if everything goes the right way tomorrow to get to that three-quarters of the way there is some achievement by the age of 25," he said.
"I'd be in pretty illustrious company. So not getting ahead of ourselves, here, but yeah, it would mean an awful lot. I never thought that I'd be able to be in this position."
- Sports & Recreation
- Rory McIlroy
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