Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell are hoping to bounce back in the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and head to next week’s US PGA on a massive high.
McIlroy recovered from a double bogey at the 14th with birdies at two of his last three holes 69 that left him five shots adrift of clubhouse leaders Ryan Palmer (63) and Sean O’Hair (64) on four under par.
McIlroy said: “It was nice to get a couple in there after the double on 14. I am still in there, hopefully no more than five back so I can give it a run tomorrow.
“I played nicely on the front nine but didn’t hit many fairways on the back nine but did well to hang in there with only ten putts.
“I feel I am playing well and it is looking good for tomorrow and next week. I am happy with where my game is at and it would be nice to finish with a good one going into the PGA.
“I just need to get a bit of momentum but we’ll see tomorrow if I can make a few birdies early and keep it going.”
US Open champion McDowell revealed that he was still battling to shake off a bug that affected him in Friday’s second round 73.
Despite an ice cold putter, he missed just one fairway as he posted a two under 68 to lie just six shots off the pace on three under par.
Relieved that he has shaken off a bug that could have wrecked his US PGA chances, McDowell said: “I thought I might have picked up some kind of bug yesterday so I went home and dosed myself up with vitamins and Advil, slept it off and felt better this morning.
“Going into a major next week, I was very worried that I had picked up some kind of bug. But I’m a bit better today.”
McDowell has one eye on the last major of the season but knows that a decent final round will be worth huge world ranking and Race to Dubai points.
After mixing four birdies and two bogeys, he said: “I played good today, really good. I just didn’t get the putter heated up at all. I hit a lot of quality iron shots today and drove it really well on the back nine especially.
“It all bodes well but it is a little frustrating. These greens are good but I don’t seem to be able to match my line with my speed.”
Padraig Harrington was frustrated to shoot a level par 70 to slip eight shots off the pace on one under.
Confessing that he had one eye on next week’s US PGA, Harrington said: “I hit it close enough today, as close as I have ever hit it in a round of golf and if I had putted half decent I would have been challenging.
“Tomorrow I’ll go out to do a score but it won’t have any effect on how I play in the US PGA next week.”