Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland lead The Open after stunning third rounds

  • Moving day brings new leaders after pair of 66s
  • Cameron Young and Cameron Smith are four shots back

Twenty-nine majors, or 2,898 days, have come and gone for Rory McIlroy since he raised the US PGA Championship trophy aloft at Valhalla. Shortly after quarter past seven on day three of this, the 150th Open Championship, McIlroy leapt to the summit of the leaderboard. He will start the fourth round tied for that position and, more significantly, 18 holes from the major winning tally of Seve Ballesteros.

The Spaniard would surely approve of McIlroy claiming number five at St Andrews. In the space of almost eight occasionally painful years, McIlroy has never been closer to achieving such a feat. He has never looked more capable of achieving it. Yet the 33-year-old will know – only too well – of the hard yards ahead. In Viktor Hovland, who shares 16 under par with McIlroy, the Northern Irishman has a formidable opponent. The duo traded blows like superstar boxers on day three here. Matching 66s felt perfectly appropriate as McIlroy and Hovland separated themselves from the field.

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