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Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland surge into Open lead at St Andrews

McIlroy, Hovland surge into Open lead at St Andrews
© Reuters
Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland take a four-shot lead into the final round of the Open Championship after shooting 66 on Saturday.

Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland have each posted rounds of 66 to surge clear at the top of the Open leaderboard ahead of the final round.

The pair went off as the penultimate group with Cameron Smith leading the way after Friday's play, but a complete turnaround occurred late on Saturday at St Andrews.

From Hovland's perspective, the Norwegian put together a faultness round, recording four birdies in succession between the third and sixth holes to heap the pressure on his rivals.

Although just two birdies followed on the closing 12 holes, his final birdie on the last ensured that he shared the momentum with playing partner McIlroy.

The Northern Irishman took longer to warm into his round on the East Coast of Scotland, but holing his bunker shot for eagle on the 10th lit up the knowledgeable galleries.

While he posted a bogey at the difficult 17th, McIlroy responded with a delightful chip shot on the 18th to set up a tap-in birdie, leaving him and Hovland on 16-under-par.

Overnight leader Smith lost any momentum from Friday on the first hole as he started with a bogey, while a double bogey on the 13th cancelled out his two birdies for the day.

First-round frontrunner Cameron Young was able to remain in contention courtesy of four birdies between the ninth and 15th, leaving him in a share of third alongside Smith.

Si Woo Kim and world number one Scottie Scheffler are lurking on 11-under-par - five shots off the lead - with Dustin Johnson now an outsider a shot further back.

The trio of Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Adam Scott - who are all in a tie for eighth spot - are most likely playing for places now that they are seven shots behind the top two.

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