HOYLAKE, England — Rory McIlroy looks as if he has just thrown a knockout punch at the British Open, and it was only Saturday.
When he rolled in a 10-foot eagle putt on the final hole for a 4-under-par 68, he straightened his back, stared defiantly at thousands of fans crammed into the horseshoe arena around the 18th green at Royal Liverpool, and lightly pumped his fist.
He went from being tied for the lead to six shots ahead of Rickie Fowler in just over an hour.
And suddenly, the biggest challenge facing the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland was reminding himself that he had one more round left.
McIlroy can’t afford to picture his name etched on the base of that silver claret jug. He can’t think about what it will be like next April to drive down Magnolia Lane at Augusta National with a shot at becoming the sixth player to capture the career Grand Slam.
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