Rory McIlroy hails vital short game

Rory McIlroy and Billy Horschel Tour Championship

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Rory McIlroy claims his short game saved the day after a third-round 67 moved him level at the top of the leaderboard with Billy Horschel in the fight to win the Tour Championship and the $10million FedEx Cup crown.

The Northern Irish world number one started the day two shots behind home favourite Horschel at East Lake in Atlanta and he followed up his second round 65 with another impressive display to leave him on nine-under for the tournament going into Sunday’s final round.

McIlroy, whose round on Saturday included a stunning eagle on the par-five 15th, felt that was the “turning point” in his bid to win the event and follow up his victories in both the Open Championship and US PGA Championship this year.

“I hadn’t really played the par fives well all week and it was a big putt for me,” McIlroy said.

“That was a big turning point which got me tied for the lead. It was pretty scrappy coming in but I managed to salvage the pars (on 17 and 18). I feel like my short game really saved me today.”

Horschel, who carded two successive rounds of 66, stayed below par on Saturday with a 69 to leave him well placed to win the Tour Championship and the money-spinning FedEx Cup.

However, 2010 FedEx Cup winner Jim Furyk is in with a chance of pipping the leading pair to the title as he sits just two shots off the top on seven under and the American is one in front of Justin Rose, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler.

McIlroy is 1.85 to go on and win the Tour Championship to claim the FedEx Cup prize on Sunday, while Horschel is 3.80 and Furyk is 10.00.

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