Though thunder and lightning threatened to wreak havoc on the proceedings, Rory McIlroy was the picture of calm on Day 3 of The Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.
McIlroy withstood a strong charge from Rickie Fowler to open up a six-shot lead at 16 under par heading into the final round on Sunday.
With the threat of bad weather looming, officials decided to speed up Saturday's proceedings with a split-tee start for the first time in the tournament's 143-year history. Heading out in groups of three, the pros enjoyed favourable conditions as they chased McIlroy, who looks to be building a wire-to-wire performance.
Thanks to a strong start, Fowler caught up to McIlroy at 12-under on the 12th hole, but then faltered. Three bogeys down the stretch led to a 68, which puts him at 10-under heading into Sunday's action.
Meanwhile, McIlroy built on his lead, with eagles on both the 16th and 18th holes giving him some breathing room ahead of Fowler.
Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson sit tied for third, at nine-under.
It was an up-and-down day for Tiger Woods, who paired four birdies with a double and a triple bogey to finish the day with a 73, one over par for the tournament.
The storm threat should pass by Sunday, where Rory McIlroy will be well-positioned to vanquish his demons and claim his third major championship.
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