Ryan Fox of New Zealand, Matthieu Pavon of France and Dutch golfer Erik van Rooyen shared the lead after the second round of the Irish Open on Friday, while Danny Willett's return to form catapulted him into contention at Ballyliffin Golf and Country Club.
The 2016 champion has fallen further off the pace with a one over par round of 73, making back to back bogeys in his final two holes.
"I was surprised, the bookies don't normally get it wrong, but to put me out there at 66-1 on a links golf course was unusual on their part, at home in my home country".
Rory McIlroy admits his game is stuck in neutral in his last competitive start before the British Open, but believes he would "win every week" if he can start firing on all cylinders. "It's just a matter of being a little more efficient and taking my opportunities when I give myself them, be just a little more efficient with my scoring". "I hit the ball the best I've hit it on Thursday and I felt like I sort of kept it up".
Belgium’s Courtois blasts France victory as ‘shame for football’
In the semifinal, both sides will play a game of "pick your poison" in what promises to be an energetic, back-and-forth match. Belgium winger Eden Hazard has praised Roberto Martinez ahead of his countries semi-final against France on Tuesday evening.
And he did his hopes of a repeat performance the power of good with an excellent opening round, going blemish free on his back nine and closing with his sixth birdie of the round on the ninth thanks to a lengthy putt.
It's going to be very condition-dependent again but if we get a day like this, I'll be doing what I did: "Hit driver everywhere and try to hit wedges in and see if I can hole some putts", said Fox. "Looking back, all in all, I think it was a good day".
"I've taken the golf course on the last three days and it seemed to work". Van Rooyen began the third round in a three-way tie for the lead, but stormed to the turn in just 29 shots on his way to a superb 6-under-par 66 to finish 14 under.