The Open 2016: NI players out of contention at Royal Troon

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The Open: Rory McIlroy breaks his club in anger on 16th hole
The 145th Open Championship
Venue: Royal Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland Dates: 14-17 July
Coverage: Highlights on BBC TV and online, listen live on BBC Radio 5 live and follow live text on the BBC Sport website. Click here for full details

Northern Ireland's leading golfers remain out of contention for winning the Claret Jug after the third round of The Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Rory McIlroy fired a two-over-par 73 to lie level par, 12 behind leader Henrik Stenson, with Phil Mickelson 11 under.

The world number four's round included four bogeys, including three on the front nine, and just two birdies.

Darren Clarke also carded a 73 and is three over while Graeme McDowell's 72 left him back on five over.

McDowell picked up shots at the first and 16th holes but his round was marred by a triple bogey at the par-three eighth.

Clarke, the 2011 champion, dropped shots at three of the last four holes.

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Rory McIlroy reflects on missed third-round opportunities

McIlroy, the victor two years ago, rued the poor start to his round which denied him any momentum in his challenge to re-gain the title.

"The first seven holes are where you need to make your score and make birdies but I made early bogeys and picked up just a couple of shots," said McIlroy.

"I had chances for birdies at the seventh, eighth and ninth holes but wasn't able to convert. The speed and the wind were factors in me missing those putts.

"I was never really comfortable over them because of the wind and it was tough to commit to something - that's why I missed a few short ones."

Twice former champion Padraig Harrington birdied the last to salvage a 73 and lie two over ahead of Sunday's final round.

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