McIlroy keeps his eye on the big prize

 

east lake

Rory McIlroy hoped he had saved his best for last as the battle for a $10 million (£6m) payday went down to the wire in Atlanta.

McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker and Nick Watney came into the final week of the FedEx Cup play-offs knowing the massive payout would be theirs if they won the Tour Championship here.

And it was Snedeker who emerged as the most likely to do so yesterday with a third round of 64 to share the lead on eight under par with England's Justin Rose.

American Ryan Moore (65) was alone in third on six under, with McIlroy sharing fourth place on five under with Masters champion Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk.

McIlroy's 68 was his 11th successive sub-70 score, but the 23-year-old world No 1 knows he could need an even better round today to deny Snedeker and claim the huge bonus himself.

The Northern Irishman, who had two bogeys and four birdies in his round yesterday, admitted that saving par on the 18th from a greenside bunker could prove crucial in the final reckoning.

"It depends on how I play tomorrow," he said, looking ahead to the final showdown. "I wanted to make it [the par putt] because I didn't want to give a shot away right at the end."

He added: "I felt like I played pretty solid but you have to stay patient. It's one of those courses where I don't think anyone is really going that low. I might need one and hopefully I have saved it for the last day."

Certainly McIlroy quickly dealt with any problems he found on the outward half. He made a poor start by missing the green at the first and almost fluffing his chip, but he responded to the resulting bogey with a birdie from five feet on the par-three second.

Another poor chip from the apron of the seventh green cost McIlroy a shot, but again he quickly hit back courtesy of a two-putt birdie on the par-five ninth after he had managed a 367-yard drive.

On the inward half, he kept his challenge ticking over with birdies at the 10th and the par-five 15th amid a sea of pars.

Furyk, who lifted the big prize two years ago on the eve of the last Ryder Cup, seemed to be heading for a similarly controlled round to protect the position he had created for himself on Friday when he went to the turn in 29 on his way to a 64.

However, after one birdie and 15 pars left him in a share of the lead on the 17th, the Ryder Cup player ran up a triple-bogey seven after finding water off the tee.

Woods is four off the lead on four under after a 67, with Luke Donald a shot further back after matching that score largely thanks to holing his second shot to the 14th for an eagle two.

News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition