Rory McIlroy has lived his three Ps to perfection this week — perspective, patience and persistence — and after carding a superb six-under 64 to snatch a share of the lead in the RBC Canadian Open, he wants to finish off with a W to go into the US Open with a sixth national open under his belt.
Shane Lowry is lurking just a shot behind McIlroy, Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar on 12-under after a 66 — his sixth successive round in the 60s on the PGA Tour— while Graeme McDowell is tied ninth after a 70 and within striking distance of winning that ticket to The Open at Royal Portrush.
But all eyes are on McIlroy, who has been a model of consistency this year and seeking his second win of the season and the chance to go to Pebble Beach a fifth major win is possible on a course where patience, persistence and putting will be as important and great wedge play.
"I'm much happier with it than I was Saturday morning last week," McIlroy said of his game, having sharpened up his driving and wedge play since missing the cut in the Memorial Tournament.
"A week can make a big difference. Just tidied a couple of things up. Got the driver going a bit better; got my wedges going a bit better. They are things that you definitely need around this golf course, Hamilton, and things I'll obviously need down the line looking at the next few weeks coming up.
"If anything, that missed cut last weekend has been a little bit of a blessing."
As for his reasons for being in Canada, he said it's all about competing to win, which is what he needs to do more often given his talent.
"I think the best preparation for tournaments ahead is to get yourself into contention and feel the heat of battle, and going down the stretch hitting the shots when you need to," he said.
"If you can do that, then I don't think you can do anything else in the game that will give you more confidence than that."
Asked about winning a national open, he felt obliged to explain again why he wasn't playing his own.
"I'm standing here playing in your national open, and I'm not playing in my own this year, which is something -- I've been very loyal and dedicated to the Irish Open. I felt with the Open Championship being at Portrush it was a chance for me to prepare more the way I wanted to.
"...If I were able to win tomorrow that would be my sixth, and that would be something I would be very proud of."
Having failed several times to produce his best stuff on Sunday's when in contention, he knows it's going to be a mental battle as much as a physical one.
"I just have to concentrate on what I can do. As you said, perspective has been a word I've used a lot this year, along with patience and persistence and all the Ps that I've tried to practice this year,” he said.
"They've done me well to this point. They're things I have to keep reminding myself of. You know, whether I hit a good shot or bad shot or in a good spot or not, if I just keep preaching that to myself it just eases the tension and makes things a bit simpler."
McIlroy doesn't just have Simpson and Kuchar to worry about, he's also got Brandt Snedeker, Canadian Adam Hadwin and Lowry breathing down his neck and the Offaly man looks dangerous.
He bogeyed the second by three-putting from just off the green but then putted brilliantly after that, holing a nine-footer at the fourth and a seven-footer for par at the sixth.
After holing out from the fringe for birdie at the seventh, he made it three in a row by knocking in a 10 footer at the eighth and a 25 footer at the ninth, then made another 25 footer at the 12th before getting up and down from 84 yards for par at the 18th, holing a 15 footer.
Ranked third for strokes gained-putting, Lowry's recent two-week break appears to have done him nothing but good and his game remains in excellent shape since he closed with three rounds in the 60s to finish tied eighth in the US PGA at Bethpage Black.
"Yeah, I'm chuffed. I've given myself a great chance going into tomorrow," Lowry told Sky Sports. "That's what I wanted at the start of the week, so I'm happy.
"I had two weeks after and didn't really do that much [with my game]. I played a few games of golf with friends and stuff, but it was the most relaxed two weeks off I've had all year.
"I came back out this week and didn't really know how I was going to play. I just went about my business and managed to get off to a good start on Thursday. Kept it going, kept the momentum going.
"The big thing this week is I'm holing a few putts. Holed a great putt for par on the last there, which is great for momentum going into tomorrow. Hopefully, I can build on it and keep it going."
Having won in Abu Dhabi in January to end a three-and-a-half year wait for a win after a few lean years, he finds himself in position to make another move up the world rankings and test himself at the highest level.
"I'm trying to get as used to being at the top of the leaderboard as I can," he said. "It does take a little bit of getting used to, especially at the start of this year. I had a couple of barren years, and it was nice to come out this year and sort of the be up there top of the leaderboard a few weeks.
"As you said, I managed to knock one off in January, and hopefully, I can go out and give myself a great chance tomorrow."
McDowell has heard too much talk of The Open since March but now finds himself needing a great final round to clinch one of three spots at Royal Portrush.
But he's not the only one with his eye on the prize.
Canadians Hadwin (12 under) and Mackenzie Hughes (nine-under) have also yet to qualify, and McDowell is tied for ninth on eight-under with Erik van Rooyen, Jonathan Byrd and Nick Taylor, who have also yet to qualify.
If there's a tie for the final spot, the player with the higher world ranking gets the nod.
While Hadwin (79th) and Hughes (218) and van Rooyen (90th) are ranked ahead of him, 121st ranked McDowell has an advantage over Taylor (270th) and Byrd (406th).
Meanwhile, Darren Clarke went into this morning’s final round of the PGA Tour Champions’ Mastercard Japan Championship tied for third, just two shots behind Scott McCarron after rounds of 68 and 70 at Narita Golf Club-Accordia Golf in Chiba. Scores