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Summary

  1. McIlroy leads by six shots on -16 after a round of 68
  2. Fowler -10; Garcia -9; D Johnson, Dubuisson -8; E Molinari -7
  3. Manassero, Scott, Karlsson, Furyk, Schwartzel -6
  4. Selected: Clarke, McDowell, Warren, Rose -5; Mickelson -1; Woods +3
  5. A two-tee start for first time in Open history because of the weather

Live Reporting

By Andy Cryer, Ben Dirs and Luke Reddy

All times stated are UK

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It is absolutely hammering it down in Hoylake now, and I'm sure this is going to cause some controversy - without the two-tee start today, Rory McIlroy would have still been on his front nine, splashing his way through the stair rods. And with that, I'm off.

Leader Rory McIlroy talking to BBC One after a 68 gives him a six-shot lead on -16: "Rickie Fowler was getting close to me. I knew if I could hit good drives on 16 and 18 I would have a good chance of birdie, I didn't expect to hit eagles but there you go. It is a good thing I have experienced this before, good and bad. Hopefully some of that experience I can take into tomorrow.

" I got off the course yesterday and it felt like I was on the course straight away, I didn't have time to think about it or dwell on it."

Mark James

Former Ryder Cup captain on BBC TV

"Rory has over powered it and taken a lot of bunkers out of play. He has had to hit driver to pretty small targets and that is not easy. He hits it 330 yards and straight down the middle. You can't play chess against someone with a machine gun."

McIlroy leads by six on -16

Iain Carter

BBC golf correspondent at Hoylake

Rory McIlroy shakes hands on the 18th green
AFP

"You can't help but be impressed, can you? This is going to go down as one of the all-time great performances, just like Martin Kaymer at Pinehurst. It's like he's saying: 'Anything you can do, I can do just as well.'"

McIlroy leads by six on -16

More from Rory McIlroy on BBC One: "I didn't get off to the best of starts yesterday either. The big par save on seven was a big momentum keeper. It has been advantageous to take the driver out on the tees and gives me a big advantage over some of the field.

"It was a great back nine and I am proud of how I stayed patient. Rickie Fowler and myself have known each other for a long time and are now neighbours in Florida. It will be quite a comfortable grouping for both of us and hopefully we both play well.

"I will go to the gym after this and then take it easy, have a nice dinner and try and get some sleep."

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Charles Nurick

on Twitter: Fingers crossed we don't see another Augusta-like meltdown from McIlroy. Think he's mature enough now to see this one out.

Tom Collins: That might be my last ever bet on Tiger Woods, was such a great player, but he's well past his best now.

I know how leads can "go away", says Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy
AFP

Rory McIlroy says he's not home and dry despite a mammoth six-shot lead: "I won from

seven back at Wentworth so I know how leads can go away," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I feel good, I've been in this position before. Hopefully I'll handle it well. I'll treat it like I did at Congressional (2011 US Open) and how I did at Kiawah Island (2012 US PGA Championship, his second major title). My game plan all week has been to take care of the par fives and I want to do that again tomorrow."

McIlroy leads by six on -16

Sergio Garcia
AP

Sergio Garcia talking to BBC One after a 69 takes him to nine under and third place: "I am a little bit disappointed the way I played the last two holes. Other than that I played quite solid for most of the day. I would love to have score a little bit lower but unfortunately not.

"You never know, you will see what kind of day tomorrow is. It is never easy being in the position of leader, Rory is a great player but you never know, anything can happen.

"You have to be comfortable with what you do, you can't just attack everything because you are not going to hit good shots. You have to attack where you feel comfortable attacking."

McIlroy leads by six on -16

Rickie Fowler
AP

Rickie Fowler talking to BBC One after a 68 leaves him at 10 under for the championship and in second place behind Rory McIlroy:

"I was really prepared to hit every shot, but made a couple of loose swings off the tee. The loose swings cost me and there is room for improvement on the home stretch.

"There is a fine line, so much can happen so quickly. I was six back going in to today, if I can get off to a good start and put pressure on, there is still a lot of golf to be played. Being alongside Rory is an advantage tomorrow. We are going to have a good time, if I can put pressure on and make him earn it and see if we can get myself in the mix."

Hope for the others, says Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

Former European Tour player on BBC Radio 5 live

"Garcia's always got a 65 in him and Dustin has already shot one."

There you have it lads. Shoot low tomorrow and hope Rory McIlroy has a

2011 Masters-esque collapse.

McIlroy leads by six on -16

Ken Brown

BBC Sport commentator

"What is exciting about Rory is he chases flags. He didn't need to but he did it in the last few holes. It spread eagles the field. He has got a bit of a cushion."

McIlroy leads by six on -16

David Leadbetter

Leading golf coach on BBC Radio 5 live

"Rory looks like he's floating down the fairway, it's so serene, so easy. When Tiger won at Pebble Beach by 15 shots, I get that kind of feeling here. He's the new Tiger of golf.

"This course lends itself to his kind of golf. I don't know what the odds on him to not win would be but they must be tremendous. Gary Player used to say there's no safe lead in golf. But he's playing so well you'd have to say the Claret Jug is already in his hands."

McIlroy leads by six on -16

Mark James

Former Ryder Cup captain on BBC TV

"Rory McIlroy looked nervous on the first tee. It took him while to get warmed up, and he didn't start to flow until later, but it shows how much he has got in his tank when he takes that long to get going."

McIlroy leads by six on -16

I'm told that nobody has ever blown a five-shot lead heading into the final round of the Open and McIlroy would be the first wire-to-wire winner at the Open since Tiger in 2005 and only the seventh ever. A round of 68 on Sunday would break Tiger's Open record of 19 under par, set in 2000.

Ken Brown

BBC Sport commentator

"The two-tee start has worked out well, but it was a big advantage for Rory. He didn't have to wait around, which can be horrible The ingredients were perfect for Rory - and as he walked out on the first tee the rain stopped."

Did you know?

Greg Norman
Getty Images

Greg Norman's winning score of 267 at Royal St George's in 1993 is the lowest score shot at The Open. The 'Great White Shark' hit rounds of 66, 68, 69 and 64. A 66 from McIlroy tomorrow would set a new mark.

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Nick Comber

on Twitter: ‏Too good from Rory. Only one winner of the Open now.

Few, if any, would disagree. Does anyone stand a chance? Tweet your views using #bbcgolf, via text on 81111 or using our

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That's the biggest lead at the third-round stage since Tiger Woods at St Andrews in 2000. Woods eventually won by eight shots. It would be nice if somebody made a charge tomorrow, at least made things interesting, but with clement weather expected, McIlroy's got this tournament on toast.

Leaderboard

leaderboard
BBC

Selected others: -5: Darren Clarke (NI), Graeme McDowell (NI), Jimmy Walker (USA), Adam Scott (Aus), Justin Rose (Eng); -4: Stephen Gallacher (Sco), David Howell (Eng); -3; Shane Lowry (Ire), Jordan Spieth (USA); -1: Phil Mickelson (USA); +1: Luke Donald (Eng); +2: Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson (Swe); +3: Tiger Woods (USA); +5: Tom Watson (USA)

McIlroy cards 68, leads by six on -16

McIlroy has had eight single putts in this round... make that nine, he's nailed his eagle chance, his second in three holes. McIlroy finishes with a round of 68 for 16 under overall and a lead of six shots. Bar a total meltdown on day four, Rory's pouched his first Claret Jug. Birdie for Johnson, a round of 71 and tied for third on nine under.

Francesco Molinari leaves his eagle effort a couple of feet right but he finishes with a four for a round of 75 and -3 overall. You get the feeling he was a little bit overawed by the monstrous hitting of McIlroy and Johnson...

Mark James

Former Ryder Cup captain on BBC TV

"When Rory McIlroy is good, he is probably as good as anyone there has ever been."

Nick Dougherty

European Tour player on BBC Radio 5 live

Rory's played the par threes in under par this week, 2.73 shots average, whereas the field is averaging over par. He's making what are quite tricky par threes here look easy.

Huge applause as Rory makes his way to the 18th green, the punters in that horseshoe stand have had some fine entertainment today. Dustin flirted with the bunker front-left but has a long putt from the apron for eagle... cosies it up there, should make birdie...

Nick Dougherty

European Tour player on BBC Radio 5 live

Great players play great shots and Rory McIlroy is playing one after the other here. That's a flag you shouldn't be able to get anywhere near today.

Peter Alliss

BBC Sport commentator

"That is a gem from Rory. They don't come much sweeter than that. I love to watch people doing things well and nobody does it better than him."

McIlroy sets up eagle chance at the last

Francesco Molinari has had a torrid time today, he's four over through 17. But what a shot this is, a splendid wood into the heart, eagle chance at the last. McIlroy gets inside him, though, and he'll have that 15-footer for an eagle and a six-shot lead. The Northern Irishman has been jauntily magnificent today.

John Murray

BBC Radio 5 live commentator

Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler
Reuters

"There's been great interaction between Fowler and Garcia but really to pressure McIlroy they would have needed something absolutely sensational."

Garcia cards 69 for -9

Ryan Moore for eagle at 18... leaves it just right of the hole and he'll be in for a birdie and a round of 73. Woods makes a birdie at his last, the ninth, and that's a round of 73 for +3 overall. Garcia in for par at the last, a round of 69 and nine under overall. It will be McIlroy and Fowler going out last tomorrow.

Fowler cards 68 for clubhouse lead on -10

McIlroy at the last and he's absolutely melted that, over the corner and slap-bang in the middle of the fairway. Garcia with his third at 18 and he's left himself with a 20-footer for birdie. Fowler playing from a green-side pot bunker and that's a crackerjack, he'll tap in for birdie, a round of 68 and -10 overall.

Garcia pushes his second right of the 18th green, Fowler is also in a spot of bother. Ryan Moore of the United States is the third member of that group and he gets a naughty bounce over a bunker - Moore has a rough ride on the front nine but has settled things down since, he's four under.

Tom Watson
Getty Images

McIlroy is pretty much where Garcia was on 17 and the result is almost identical, scrambling up the hill and dribbling back again. McIlroy almost holes his recovery putt and it's only one shot gone. Schwartzel taps in for a round of 72, which leaves him where he started, six under. Birdie at the last for 2010 champion Oosthuizen, but he's four over for the day and two under overall...

David Leadbetter

Leading golf coach on BBC Radio 5 live

"It's been pretty poor golf, whether it's good for friends to play together well that's another thing. It's as flat as a pancake out there, there's no energy."

David Leadbetter has been following South African trio Charl Schwartzel (-6), Louis Oosthuizen (-2) and George Coetzee (-3), who have all gone backwards today, especially 2010 Open champion Oosthuizen who dropped four shots in four holes on the back nine.

Dustin finds the heart of the 17th green with his second, McIlroy has apparently tugged his approach into some cabbage short-left. Garcia steps away from his drive on 18, think that was a spot of insect trouble, before tugging his tee shot left. Fowler just makes the first cut.

Rose 'yet to have his run'

Justin Rose
Getty Images

Justin Rose talking to BBC One after a 69 leaves him five under: "Today turned out to be a nice day to play golf. Not much wind and that was my lowest round of the week, although my 70 in the wind yesterday was my best round.

"I had the chance to go much lower today. I was on the trickier side of the draw but I played some good golf. But maybe haven't had my run yet. I'm probably too far back to win but you never know what the conditions will bring."

Leaders

-15 McIlroy; -9 Fowler, Garcia; -8 D Johnson, Dubuisson; 7 E Molinari; -6 Manassero, Scott, Furyk, Schwartzel, Karlsson; -5 Clarke, McDowell, Rose, Leishman, Warren, Walker.

Official Open leaderboard

Garcia & Fowler make bogeys, McIlroy leads by six

Remember Tiger and that bush on the seventh? He made a triple to fall back to +4. Garcia will have to make do with a bogey at 17, he drops to -9 and six off the lead. Fowler comes up an inch short, he joins Garcia.

Good to see Sweden's Robert Karlsson playing with his old elan, he's in the clubhouse on six under after a third-round 70. Fowler's chip on at 17 comes up short and dribbles back down the hump, he's got a rotter for par. Garcia's stab from the rough does much the same, Rory could be looking at a six-shot lead in a minute...

Is Fowler McIlroy's bogey man?

So we know they go back a while and, as it stands, Rory McIlroy has the edge over Rickie Fowler and the rest of the field on the Hoylake links.

Something to ponder though: Fowler has two professional wins where, on both occasions, a certain McIlroy was pipped to the title.

First at the

2011 Korea Open, McIlroy finished second, then at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship
the American defeated the Northern Irishman in a play-off.