McIlroy three behind Storm at BMW SA Open
Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy will lead chasing pack attempting to overhaul Graeme Storm’s three-shot lead in the final round of the BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni.

The World Number Two almost withdrew from the tournament on Friday having strained a muscle in his back, but played through the pain to remain in contention at the Glendower Golf Club.

Further treatment on Saturday morning enabled McIlroy to post a third round 67 which included a brilliant eagle two on the seventh hole where he holed out with a nine-iron from 160 yards after a perfect nine iron.

His total of 14 under left him three behind Storm, who followed his course record-equalling 63 of round two with his own 67 on day three to surge to 17 under and in prime position to add a second European Tour title to his CV.

The Englishman almost lost his European Tour card at the end of 2016, but he has turned his form around and is hoping to quickly banish the memory of a poor season with a victory on Sunday.

Joining McIlroy trying to hunt down the leader will be young Englishman Jordan Smith, who topped the European Challenge Tour Rankings in 2016.

Smith posted a third round of 68 to join the leading South African, Jbe Kruger, on 13 under heading into the final round.

Aside that top four, there are 11 players within six shots of Storm’s lead, leaving the final round wide open.

Rory McIlroy

“The back was a little tender this morning – I didn’t really get much sleep last night. I couldn’t get comfortable and I had to wake up in the middle of the night to take a couple of pain killers but the physios did a good job on me this morning and strapped me up pretty well, and then gave me a couple of anti-inflammatories, which helped.
"It was a bit uncomfortable for the first five or six holes but then I took another couple of anti-inflammatories in the middle of the round and it actually felt pretty good on the back nine so hopefully it will continue to feel that way, and hopefully this muscle spasm that I have around the joint is sort of subsiding and I will go get some treatment today, and I will get some treatment tomorrow before I go out and hopefully it’s going to get better.
“If it’s a muscular thing then it’s just fatigue. I mean I have hit a lot of golf balls over the last four or five weeks – testing equipment and I have hit a lot of drivers as well, so I think that’s probably just the thing. I have been hitting a lot of drivers – I mean, you put a lot of force on your body when you do that – so maybe I’ll take it easy over the next few days. I think with better rest and more treatment I should be fine.
"I’d like to be a few shots better or at least a few shots closer to the lead – you know I’m three shots behind the lead at the minute – but hopefully, I can get off to a good start tomorrow and put a bit of pressure on Graeme and make it interesting."

Graeme Storm

"I am just really pleased that I kept the momentum from yesterday and played really nicely and holed some good putts. I find myself now in a position that I have only been in a couple of times over the past few years. Things have been difficult and last year was a tough year but it has given me a new lease of life and I hope to continue playing well.
“I thought I had lost my card and all of the privileges that come from playing on the European Tour and when that happens you realise that you can’t afford to lose it. It’s my livelihood and I have a young family to support so I can’t afford to lose my job. But will all that I am also trying to enjoy it a bit more as I am always someone who get down on themselves a little bit too much and outs pressure on myself. So if I can relieve that pressure tomorrow I will be fine.
“I have never played with Rory before and I know him really well so it will be a lot of fun. I’m not sure how many fans I will have compared to him but we will have some fun out there. Hopefully I play well. There are a lot of other great players still in this tournament as well but Rory is obviously the big name.”

Darren Clarke missed the cut by five shots after rounds of 70 and 78.

Round three scores 

199 G Storm(Eng) 69 63 67,

202 R McIlroy(Nir) 67 68 67,

203 J Kruger (RSA) 67 67 69, J Smith (Eng) 67 68 68,

204 R Langasque(Fra) 70 66 68, E Molinari(Ita) 71 70 63, J Van Zyl (RSA) 71 65 68, J Stalter (Fra) 69 70 65, P Uihlein(USA) 70 64 70, D Burmester (RSA) 67 70 67,

205 R Johnson (Swe) 69 70 66, T Fisher Jnr (RSA) 66 68 71, T Aiken (RSA) 67 70 68, M Korhonen (Fin) 72 66 67, K Horne (RSA) 66 69 70,

206 L Canter (Eng) 69 66 71, C Hanson (Eng) 71 69 66, D Drysdale (Sco) 70 65 71,

207 G King (Eng) 73 68 66, P Widegren(Swe) 72 67 68, A Björk (Swe) 68 71 68, O Fisher(Eng) 68 69 70,

208 J Morrison(Eng) 70 72 66, L De Jager(RSA) 77 64 67, J Walters (RSA) 69 72 67, D Van Der Walt (RSA) 71 67 70,

209 S Norris(RSA) 69 69 71, J Blaauw(RSA) 72 70 67, J Winther (Den) 69 70 70,

210 D Fichardt (RSA) 68 72 70, A Otaegui(Esp) 71 69 70, R Van Der Spuy (RSA) 72 70 68, J Agren (Swe) 73 69 68, J Fahrbring (Swe) 68 71 71, L Bjerregaard(Den) 72 71 67, D Brooks (Eng) 69 71 70, J Kingston (RSA) 72 71 67,

211 S Soderberg (Swe) 69 72 70, A Knappe (Ger) 71 71 69, S Dyson(Eng) 69 71 71, M Foster (Eng) 68 70 73, C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 70 70 71,

212 T Detry(Bel) 72 71 69, T Moore (RSA) 70 73 69, T Lewis (Eng) 72 71 69, J Kruyswijk (RSA) 73 69 70, U Van Den Berg(RSA) 69 70 73, A Da Silva (Bra) 73 69 70, B Stone (RSA) 74 67 71, R Echenique (Arg) 73 70 69,

213 S Engell Andersen(Ken) 72 71 70, P Angles(Esp) 72 71 70, R McGowan(Eng) 72 71 70, J Parry (Eng) 74 67 72,

214 P Waring(Eng) 70 70 74, D Van Tonder(RSA) 73 69 72, S Tiley (Eng) 69 72 73, J Harding(RSA) 70 70 74, M Hollick (RSA) 70 71 73,

215 J Kamte (RSA) 70 68 77, G Mulroy (RSA) 71 71 73, O Strydom (RSA) 72 70 73, M Madsen (Den) 75 68 72,

216 E Kofstad (Nor) 73 67 76, P Maddy (Eng) 71 69 76,

217 N Fasth (Swe) 70 73 74,

221 A Georgiou (RSA) 72 71 78,

** B Rumford (Aus) 69 68 WD,