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Here comes Rory McIlroy – and it didn’t even take a low one.
On a difficult day weather-wise, McIlroy’s 2-under 68 Saturday at TPC Potomac was good enough to shoot McIlroy up 44 spots on the leaderboard at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“It was very good,” McIlroy said, “especially after the start that I had.”
McIlroy, competing this week for the first time since he finished runner-up at the Masters on the heels of a closing 64, bogeyed each of his first two holes Saturday in cool and wet conditions. But he stuffed a handful of iron shots on the front nine, beginning at the par-3 12th hole (his third of the day), to make his charge.
He made 9-footers at Nos. 12 and the other back-nine par-3, No. 17. He pitched close to set up birdie at the short par-4 14th and then capped his first nine with a 6-foot birdie make.
“I guess at that point I knew I had some chances coming up,” McIlroy said. “Maybe not 12, I birdied 12, but certainly 13, 14, 16, all sorts of wedges in your hand, or 14, a drivable par-4. So, I just sort of at that point was just trying to get back to even par for the day. I did a little bit better than that.”
McIlroy cooled off on the front nine, his second side, with nine straight pars. He’s 3 over on the front nine through 54 holes with three bogeys and a double.
“I felt like I could have been a couple lower,” McIlroy said. “I hit the ball great on the front nine there and just didn't convert any of the chances that I gave myself. But overall, I can't be too disappointed; 2 under out there was a very good score.”
He’ll enter Sunday tied for sixth at 2 under, six shots back of leader Keegan Bradley. But with the weather not expected to improve much – less rain, but cooler – could McIlroy orchestrate a comeback with another round like his third?
“I can't imagine tomorrow being any tougher than today was,” McIlroy said. “You can't really chase much around here because it's a tough golf course, but like six shots is still a long way back. You know, definitely, if you went down to data golf, I'm sure my percentage of winning wouldn't be too high at this point.”
For those wondering, McIlroy is given a 2.1% chance to win. Bradley is at 54.3%.