Rory McIlroy leads WGC-HSBC Champions by one shot heading into final round

November 2, 2019

Rory McIlroy is one round away from his first WGC title since 2015. The 30-year-old continued his stellar 2019 form with a third-straight round of 67 at Sheshan International GC in China, giving him a one-shot lead over South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and two shots over defending champion Xander Schauffele and Matthew Fitzpatrick at the WGC-HSBC Champions.

McIlroy’s golf was flawless on Saturday, as he carded five birdies (three on the front and two on the back) without suffering a single bogey.

“I probably played the best today that I’ve played all week,” McIlroy said after his round. “I drove the ball well. Hitting my irons pretty good for the most part. I feel like I didn’t quite get as much out of the round as I could have but I’m not going to complain. I’m in the lead going into tomorrow, so yeah, just need to rest up and try to get out there and play another good, solid round of golf.”

McIlroy then compared the round he’s facing on Sunday to what he experienced at the RBC Canadian Open, which he won by seven shots after firing a final round of nine-under-par 61.

“I took a lot from the win in Canada earlier this year,” he said. “I went out tied for the lead, and I just said from the start, I’m going to keep my foot down and I’m going to go for everything. It was a good lesson that when you do have something right there, in front of you, a tournament to win or something to achieve, you just have to grab it with both hands, and that’s what I’ll do tomorrow.”

For McIlroy, a win on Sunday in China would mark his first WGC victory since the 2015 World Match Play, and his first title ever at the HSBC Champions. Though a victory would help McIlroy pull closer to Brooks Koepka’s top spot in the world ranking, it would not be enough to overtake him — not this week, at least. But while McIlroy has said that getting back to No. 1 is one of his goals, he won’t be thinking about Kopeka while he’s on the course on Sunday.

“People can say that Brooks and I are the two best golfers in the world right now, and the rankings say that, as well, but you know, there’s no part of me when I’m out there this week, you know, trying to win this golf tournament, am I thinking about Brooks Koepka,” McIlroy said. “I’m thinking about myself. I’m thinking about trying to do the best that I can, and I’ll leave all those other discussions to other people.”

McIlroy tees off in the final group alongside Louis Oostuizen and Xander Schauffele at 10:30 a.m. local time on Sunday.

To receive GOLF’s all-new newsletters, subscribe for free here.