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Rory McIlroy is feeling in confident mood as he lurks just three shots off the lead heading into the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

The four-time major winner recorded his third consecutive sub-par round – only four other players have done the same – with a two-under 68 at Akron on Saturday as he prepares to reel in Thomas Pieters and Zach Johnson at the summit of the leaderboard.

McIlroy has extra reason to fancy his chances, too. He also had a three-shot deficit going into the final round of the tournament in 2014 before taking down Sergio Garcia by two strokes to complete the second of three huge wins in a row after the Open and before the PGA Championship.

Rory Mc Ilroy1

“I was three behind going into Sunday last time and I think the took the lead by the sixth tee box,” said McIlroy. “There’s obviously a few more guys up around the lead this time around but I’m going to need to start like that again.

“I think with how soft the golf course is and how good I’m playing and, especially where I’m hitting it off the tee, I can be as aggressive as I want to out there.

“I’ve seen some good improvements with my iron play over the past three days and the plan is to go out and be aggressive, make a bunch of birdies and see where that leaves me.”

McIlroy tees off at 1.35pm local time [6.35pm UK time] alongside Russell Knox, who is a shot behind the Northern Irishman on five-under-par.

“Anything can happen on this course,” said the Scot. “You can have that flawless round, five, six or even seven-under if you play really well. Obviously it takes a lot to do that, so we’ll just wait and see how it goes.”

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