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HomeGolfEuropean Tour (EPGA)EPGA News: Rory McIlroy closes to within 2 strokes at Irish Open

EPGA News: Rory McIlroy closes to within 2 strokes at Irish Open

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German Hurly Long shot a 70 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after 54 holes at the Irish Open, but a big name is lurking.

Long climbed three spots up the leaderboard to move to a 13-under 203 for the tournament. He is one shot ahead of England’s Jordan Smith (73 on Saturday), who entered the day as a co-leader, and two ahead of Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy mixed seven birdies with a bogey on the par-5 No. 16 hole on his way to a 6-under 66 for the day at The K Club in Straffan, County Kildare.

After opening rounds of 69 and 70, McIlroy moved up 23 spots to a solo third place at 11 under entering Sunday, and he was pleased with his round and his chance to win his second Irish Open.

“It just felt like a really solid day of golf, giving myself plenty of looks and converting a few, which is probably the difference between the last two days and today,” he said. “A really solid day’s play and I needed a little bit of help from the leaders, as well. They haven’t gone too far ahead yet. We’ll see how they finish, but right back in the tournament, which is great.”

India’s Shubhankar Sharma, who shared the lead at 13-under par entering play Saturday, mixed two birdies with three bogeys and a double bogey to card a 75 and fall into a six-way tie for fourth place at 10 under.

Long and McIlroy will go head-to-head Sunday as part of the final trio. Long can expect a large pro-McIlroy contingent in the gallery.

“Last year at The Belfry, I was leading after two rounds, and there were ginormous crowds out there as well,” Long said. “I know I can take something from that. I’ve got a good attitude. I know it’s going to be way more difficult tomorrow than it was even today, but you can feed off of that just as well. So just looking forward to it either way.”

–Field Level Media

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