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McIlroy primed to pounce at BMW SA Open

14 Jan 2017

Rory McIlroy; credit Tyrone Winfield

Rory McIlroy had to overturn a three-shot deficit if he wants to lift the BMW SA Open crown and get his 2017 season off to a winning start in the City of Ekurhuleni.

The world number two overcame a niggling back problem to fire a five-under-par 67 in Saturday’s third round at Glendower Golf Club, but it was just not enough to close the gap on England’s Graeme Storm.

The overnight leader leads the field at 17 under.

A victory on Sunday will represent a remarkable comeback for a player who – just 83 days ago – lost his European Tour card by just €100 but was handed a reprieve when United States Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed failed to play the requited quota of European Tour events.

McIlroy caught Storm twice on Saturday – first with birdies at the second and the eighth bookended a stunning eagle at the par-four seventh and again when he knocked in a string of birdie putts from 11 to 13.

But a bogey on the last stalled McIlroy’s charge.

“The back was pretty bad this morning and I didn’t sleep much overnight, I was so uncomfortable I got up to take some painkillers,” McIlroy said.

“The physios here have done some good work and thankfully I was able to get round. I took some anti-inflammatories on the sixth hole and the back felt quite good on the back nine, hopefully the problem is subsiding.

“I would have liked to be a few shots better or at least a few shots closer to the lead. Hopefully I can get off to a good start and put a bit of pressure on Graeme and then it should get interesting.”

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