25-year old golf phenom Rory McIlroy has made a habit of following up great opening rounds with miserable Fridays this year. It seems that he waited until one of the biggest tournaments of the season to break that habit, posting two straight six-under rounds to kick off his bid to win the British Open before tacking on a four-under today.
That puts McIlroy at -16, six strokes ahead of the closest contender in Rickie Fowler. The two were tied on the back nine, but McIlroy holed two eagles late in his Saturday round to pull ahead. Nobody is going to hand McIlroy the Claret Jug without a fight, and there’s always the possibility that he chokes (knock on wood).
But if he doesn’t choke, and if he does continue his success over the first 54 holes at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, McIlroy could potentially make history on Sunday. The best score to par in the history of a major golf tournament came in this very same tournament back in 2000, when Tiger Woods shot a -19, putting him eight strokes ahead of Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els who tied for second.
In case you’re bad at math, what that means is that a score of four-under or better would forever engrain McIlroy in the record books with the best score in a major tournament in the history of golf. Nobody, not Tiger or Nicklaus or Player or Palmer or Hogan, has ever posted a four-round score score of 20-under at a major.
McIlroy has played some stone cold golf this weekend. His opening round six-under was earned with six birdies and 12 pars. His second round six-under was achieved in similar fashion, with seven birdies, one bogey, and the rest at par. His card was a little less clean today, but a bogey on 17 was sandwiched between two eagles that earned him a back nine score of four-under.
Does all of that mean he’s going to do the same thing tomorrow and make history? No, of course not. But now all of you quasi-golf fans out there have a good reason to tune in tomorrow.