MEMPHIS, Tenn. — World No. 3 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland fired an 8-under 62 on Saturday, July 27, at TPC Southwind to grab a one-shot lead and set up a dream final pairing with World No. 1 Brooks Koepka at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis.
McIlroy, who stands at 12-under 198, started the day tied for 13th at 4 under, but steadily worked his way up the leaderboard with a steady string of nine birdies -- including two stretches of three in a row at Nos. 7-9 and 16-18 -- to move ahead of the pack. His lone bogey came at the par-4 12th.
Koepka, who began the day at 5 under, also carded five birdies through his first 11 holes and rebounded from a bogey at the par-4 13th with back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15 to shoot 64 and move to 11 under after three rounds.
Sunday will mark the first time that McIlory and Koepka will play together in a final round of a PGA Tour event.
"Every time I tee it up I feel like I have a chance to make some history," Koepka told CBS Sports after his round. "It's a neat place to be. I'm playing some incredible golf right now. It's fun, I'm enjoying it while it lasts.
"Tomorrow is going to be difficult. Rory is going to come out firing, he's playing well. You know he's going to play a good one. I'm just going to have to take it deep."
McIlroy, who failed to make the cut last week at The Open Championship in his native Northern Ireland, will be going for his third PGA Tour title of the season and 17th of his career. It would also be his second WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational title, after winning the event in 2014. Koepka, also a two-time winner already this season, will be gunning for PGA Tour win No. 7.
Round 2 leader Matthew Fitzpatrick struggled through a rollercoaster round of 69 that included three birdies and one bogey on the front, followed by two more bogeys and one double on the back. The 24-year-old Englishman managed to earn back some ground thanks to consecutive birdies on 16 and 17, but saw his two-shot lead dissolve into a two-shot deficit and stands alone in third place at 10 under.
Spain's Jon Rahm, who led after the first round, shot 68 and is among a trio players tied at 9 under along with Australia's Marc Leishman (63) and Sweden's Alex Noren (66).
Defending champion Justin Thomas finished bogey-bogey but still managed to post a 66 and stands tied for 10th at 7 under. Thomas won last year's WGC invitational event when it was played at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
World No. 2 Dustin Johnson, the 2018 winner of the PGA event at TPC Southwind, shot 69 and stands tied for 26th at 3 under.
Reigning FedExCup champion Justin Rose of England fired an even-par 70 and stands tied for 15th at 5 under. Among his 13 previous starts in the event are finishes of second, third, fourth and fifth.