Rory McIlroy unable to mount Saturday charge at Northern Trust Open after 69

Rory McIlroy
FedEx Cup holder Rory McIlroy is 43rd in this year's standings

Rory McIlroy was unable to move into contention on day three of the Northern Trust Open as a one-under-par 69 left him level par for the tournament.

McIlroy shares 34th spot- 12 behind front-runner, Open Champion Jordan Spieth, who posted a six-under 64.

World number four McIlroy started day three seven off the pace following rounds of 73 and 68.

The Northern Irishman carded four birdies and three bogeys in his round at Glens Oaks just outside New York.

Spieth leads fellow American Dustin Johnson by three and Paul Casey, Patrick reed, Jon Rahm and Matt Kuchar by five as he edges closer to a fourth win of the season.

The tournament is the first of four held over a five-week period which McIlroy intends to play in a bid to retain his FedEx Cup title.

He will also compete in the Dunhill Links event in Scotland.

After that, the four-time major winner has indicated that he will take an extended break to aid his recovery from a rib injury.

The FedEx Cup play-offs begin with the Northern Trust and, with McIlroy lying 43rd in the standings, he will need to move into the top 30 in order to earn entry to the concluding Tour Championship.

He won the second play-offs event in 2016 before clinching a £7.8m bonus as he topped the FedEx Cup standings after triumphing at the Tour Championship.

After this week's tournament, the play-offs continue with next week's Dell Technologies Championship in Boston.

After a week's break, the series resumes with the BMW Championship in Illinois before the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

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