Rory McIlroy recovers from a hard place to keep US Open dream alive 3 months ago

Rory McIlroy recovers from a hard place to keep US Open dream alive

There was a half hour during Saturday's back nine at Torrey Pines, when Rory McIlroy was playing the type of irresistible, show-stopping golf that gives him the reputation he has.

We all have a doubter, there's no point in saying otherwise, a critic or a non-believer in our life who says that, no matter what way you look at it, Rory is all sizzle no steak.


Having sat through seven years of major catastrophes, they've had some solid evidence to go on in recent times, but for the believers, it's a back nine like Saturday's at San Diego that keeps us all banging this drum.

If you wanted sizzle, see holes 10 to 14 and if you want steak, stay for 15 home, when having found himself in the bowls of a dilapidated forest after a wild tee-shot, McIlroy kept his focus, his composure and his nerve to stay alive in this US Open, sitting two shots off leader Russell Henley with one round to go.

McIlroy's charge up the leaderboard started with a remarkable chip-in Birdie on the 12th, when having found himself lodged in some thick stuff just behind a bunker, the Holywood star played one of these delicious flop shots. You could tell it was a good'n from the moment the ball landed softly on the dancefloor but you could never have known the break would take it all the way to the pin.

Rory knew. By this stage the man was in the zone.

It was only a couple of minutes later when, having split the fairway on the par 5 13th, the 32-year-old did his drive justice with a screamer of a five-wood that literally peppered the flag-stick. You could feel it in your bones.


As it so often does, a crash down to earth duly arrived in the form of a wildly hooked tee-shot on his 15th hole of the day. The scenes, as Rory and his caddy Harry Diamond stood over a literal depression in the earth, were enough to send a whole host of Rory-followers to bed saying well here we go again.

Except it wasn't. With a safe 3rd and a brilliant chip for his 4th, McIlroy limited the damage to just the one before a birdie at the last - his third on that hole this week - moved him to -3, two shots behind the lead and heading into the final round of this US Open, it's exactly the place he'll want to be.