Rory McIlroy bemoaned a missed opportunity after he failed to get himself into the mix for the final day of the Open.
It looked so good for the four-time major winner early on as he made three birdies in his first five holes to reach four-under-par and, at that point, just three off behind leader Jordan Spieth.
However, bogeys at the seventh and eighth holes and a double at the tenth completely derailed his round as he ended the day on two-under-par and some nine shots behind Spieth, who carded a bogey-free five-under-par 65 to head into the final round three shots ahead of Matt Kuchar.
“There were low scores out there and people weren’t making mistakes,” said McIlroy afterwards. “If you kept it in play, it was almost hard to make a bogey. I’ve always been good when I get off to fast starts to keep it going but I didn’t today and that’s the disappointing thing.”
With a fifth major win now incredibly unlikely to happen tomorrow, McIlroy began to reflect on a week which he views as a positive after missing the cut in three of his previous four events.
“It’s hard to think of the big picture right now because I’m a little disappointed but this week has been a step in the right direction, there’s no doubt about it,” he added. “It’s not quite where I need to be to win the biggest golf tournaments in the world but it’s getting there.
“I need to pick myself up, play a good round tomorrow and hope for some bad weather and guys to struggle. I definitely feel like today was an opportunity lost to get right in the mix going into tomorrow.”