Rory McIlroy will have to overcome arguably the two hottest players on the planet to claim the WGC – Mexico Championship as Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson overtook the Northern Irishman after the third round.
McIlroy endured a “boring and frustrating” day at the Club de Golf Chapultepec on Saturday as he posted a one under par 70 to move to ten under for the tournament and two strokes behind Thomas and one behind the World Number One Johnson.
Thomas, who had a hole in one during his third round 65, has won three times in the past four months, including back to back victories in Hawaii when he carded a 59. Johnson, who matched that 65 to move into second place in Mexico, officially became the best in the world two weeks ago after his victory in Los Angeles.
McIlroy was joined by Phil Mickelson (68) in a tie for third spot on what is a truly world class, international leaderboard featuring England’s Lee Westwood (65) and Spain’s Jon Rahm (66) in a tie for fifth with the English Duo of Tyrrell Hatton and current Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood joining Belgian Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters a further stroke back.
Rory McIlroy: “That was a kind of weird day. It was boring and frustrating in many ways. I felt like I couldn't get into any sort of rhythm and it was just sort of, it was all a bit slow, and I was trying to get something going but just couldn't quite do it. I felt like there was a good chance around the turn to get something going. I made birdie on 11, I drove it way down there on 12 and then hit the pin with my second shot and came back. One of those days, just couldn't really put like a few good holes together I guess.
“Hopefully that’s the bad round if the week out of the way but I felt terrible out there today compared to the first couple days, especially yesterday when I felt like everything was clicking. Didn't feel so good today. But it's nice to still be in the last group for the final round - I can keep an eye on what the guys ahead of me are doing and try and catch them up.”
Justin Thomas: “It's cool playing in the final group with DJ and Rory, that's pretty cool. That's something I haven't experienced before, playing with those guys. I've obviously played with Hideki and Rosie, I've played with a lot of great players, but it will be a new experience. I've just got to go out and we've got to stick to our game plan. I was really proud of my round today because I started hitting it pretty bad again there in the middle and just kind of found it again or just was trying to manage it and brought it home strong.”
Dustin Johnson: “I hit the ball great on Thursday, I just didn't make any putts. Yesterday I played really solid, today I played really solid. Obviously everyone's struggling a little bit on the greens but I feel like I'm hitting the ball really good. I'm rolling it good, too. I made a few putts to start the round early I think. I think I made more feet of putts on the first three holes than I did in all three rounds combined.”
Jon Rahm: “It was a little bit of up and down. I started a little, just a little weird. I was hitting good shots, feeling good, but the ball wasn't doing what I wanted and I'm three over for three holes. Then I kind of pulled it back. Hit a great drive on four, made a birdie and that kind of got the round going. I feel like it's really hard to make birdies on the front nine. Luckily I was able to hit a couple of them close on the back nine and made some birdies.”
THE EUROPEAN TOUR - CELEBRATING GOLF. WORLDWIDE.
About The European Tour
The European Tour celebrates men’s professional golf on a global stage. In 2017, the European Tour International Schedule features a minimum of 47 tournaments in 26 countries, including eight Rolex Series events, all part of the Race to Dubai. The year-long competition crowns the European Tour Number One at the end of the season, a title claimed in 2016 by Henrik Stenson for the second time.
Since its formation in 1972, the European Tour has witnessed 27 Members celebrate a total of 53 Major Championship titles between them, enjoyed ten Members attaining the pinnacle of World Number One and has celebrated its diversity as players from 36 different countries have won on the Tour.
The European Tour also manages the Challenge Tour, which featured 28 tournaments in 22 countries in 2016, and the Senior Tour, which featured 13 tournaments in nine countries in 2016. It is also the Managing Partner of Ryder Cup Europe, the body which, alongside the PGA of America, administers golf’s greatest team contest, The Ryder Cup.
The European Tour broadcasts live coverage of its tournaments to more than 490 million homes in more than 150 countries every week, generating in excess of 2,200 global broadcast hours for each event. It also enjoys the support of many of the world’s leading business brands with Rolex, BMW, Emirates and Titleist as Official Partners.
About The Rolex Series
The Rolex Series is the premium category of tournaments on the European Tour’s international schedule, featuring eight events each with a minimum prize fund of US$7million. It comprises: the BMW PGA Championship (May 25-28), the HNA Open de France (June 29-July 2) the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation (July 6-9), the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open (July 13-16), the Italian Open (October 12-15), the Turkish Airlines Open (November 2-5), the Nedbank Golf Challenge (November 9-12) and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai (November 16-19), where the 2017 Race to Dubai champion will be crowned.