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Rory McIlroy in contention to end drought at US Open

Rory McIlroy in contention to end drought at US Open
© Reuters
Rory McIlroy began the day two shots off the lead and succeeded in halving his deficit by the midway stage of an action-packed final round.

Rory McIlroy remained firmly in contention to end his major drought as the battle for the 121st US Open intensified at Torrey Pines.

A decade after storming to victory at Congressional, McIlroy began the day two shots off the lead and succeeded in halving his deficit by the midway stage of an action-packed final round.

The four-time major winner holed a curling birdie putt from 35 feet on the fourth, but missed from seven feet for another on the seventh, moments after Bryson DeChambeau had almost made a hole-in-one on the eighth.

That took the defending champion into the outright lead on five under par until 54-hole joint leader Louis Oosthuizen picked up his first shot of the day on the ninth.

Two-time winner Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa were alongside McIlroy on four under as the cream rose to the top of a congested leaderboard.

MclIroy cruised to an eight-shot victory in the US Open in 2011, just two months after blowing a four-stroke lead in the Masters following a final round of 80 at Augusta National.

The Northern Irishman went on to win the US PGA Championship in 2012 and the Open and US PGA in 2014, but has not won a major since and had been a combined 35 over par in the first round of golf's biggest events before an opening 70 in San Diego.

Earlier in the day, Phil Mickelson's "unique opportunity" to complete the career grand slam in his home city of San Diego had come to an unusual end, almost two hours before the final group was due to tee off.

Mickelson began the week with renewed hope of winning his national open for the first time, but ended it by hitting his approach to the 18th around 70 yards beyond the hole and completing a 75 to finish 11 over par.

The 51-year-old was disappointed not to have played better, but remains confident he can replicate the form which made him the oldest major championship in last month's US PGA Championship.

Phil Mickelson hugs his wife, Amy, on the seventh fairway
Phil Mickelson hugs his wife, Amy, on the seventh fairway (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

"There's some opportunities coming up with the way I've been playing that I'm optimistic that I can compete and contend," the six-time major winner said.

"There's nothing more fun for me than to be in it on the weekend. I've actually been playing well enough to have chances, and we have some good tournaments coming up the next couple of months.

"Afterwards I'll look back and reminisce when the season's over and I'll still have that Wanamaker trophy I'll be looking at, and I'm still looking to add a friend to it along the line.

"That win was very meaningful to me because I've been putting in a lot of work the last couple of years and getting nothing out of it, and so to have a moment like that is something that makes it worthwhile."

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Rory McIlroy pictured at the Masters on April 8, 2021
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US Open day three: Resurgent Rory McIlroy seeks to end drought
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina29171662
United StatesUnited States22251764
JapanJapan1761033
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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