McIlroy and Fleetwood put in Players shade by ‘great day’ for Jon Rahm

• McIlroy and Fleetwood trail Spaniard’s 15 under par by a shot
• McIlroy: ‘I’m still right there going into tomorrow’

Perhaps, given recent history, Rory McIlroy will take this position and the relative peace and quiet that comes with it. The Northern Irishman will be spared the pursuit of the Players Championship from the last group of the tournament. Spared is the appropriate term: McIlroy has not won on the previous nine occasions he has played in Sunday’s final pairing. Analysis of that has become a rising theme, one that will now be irrelevant regardless of the outcome here.

McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood trail Jon Rahm’s 15 under par by a shot with 18 holes of the PGA Tour’s flagship event to play. McIlroy’s third round of 70 was far from a disaster but he appeared uncomfortable for the first time in this tournament; as demonstrated by his finding of just four fairways in regulation. The 28?year?old duly headed for a range session after completing media duties. “I hit it really good for the first couple days,” McIlroy said. “I don’t know, I was just maybe getting ahead of it a little bit. I missed a few to the right, so was maybe just getting a little quick from the top. It’s probably something very simple.”

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