McIlroy eyeing early gains to apply scoreboard pressure

Early gains are the priority for Rory McIlroy if he is to put himself in contention for a second Open title at Carnoustie.

Rory McIlroy in action at Carnoustie   -  Getty Images

Rory McIlroy intends to attack his final 18 holes at The Open to try and get himself in contention for the Claret Jug on Sunday.

McIlroy hit a one-under 70 on Saturday to leave him at -five through 54 holes, trailing leaders Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner by four shots.

Costly bogeys on the back nine halted McIlroy's third-round charge, but with conditions set to change, he remains positive about his chances.

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And, the 2014 champion – who will play round four with Matt Kuchar – hopes to pick up some early shots to help build momentum and apply scoreboard pressure.

"I just need to get off to a fast start. I'm obviously disappointed after the way I finished, but I'm still in the tournament. I'm only a few shots behind," McIlroy told reporters at Carnoustie.

"[I need to] go out and hit a lot of drivers. I felt like the course was perfectly set up to take advantage of it and attack it. I tried to do that for the most part."

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"Maybe my wedge play wasn't quite as good as it should have been, but I give myself plenty of chances. I just need to regroup and get ready."

"It will be interesting. The wind's going to be up, and there's a lot of guys that feel like they have a chance. The good thing is there's not many players in between me and the lead. It's not that bunched. I think, if I can get to double digits under par, I think that would be a good score to post and see what happens."

Alongside McIlroy on five under is Tiger Woods, the golfing great finally back in contention for a major title, much to the delight of the Northern Irishman.

"It's good for golf. He'll definitely be feeling it [on Sunday]. It's his first time in the hunt for a major in a while. So, yeah, it will be good," he added when asked about Woods.