PARAMUS, N.J. — Rory McIlroy faded after a quick start Saturday at The Barclays, settling for a 1-under-par 70 that left him well behind the leaders entering the final round at Ridgewood Country Club.
McIlroy, who is attempting to win four straight tournaments, made early birdies on the first and fifth holes, but could not sustain the good start, making just one more birdie the rest of the day and adding two bogeys.
At 4-under overall, he is in a tie for 23rd and is five strokes behind co-leaders Jason Day and Jim Furyk in the first of four FedEx Cup playoff events.
“I can’t put it down to anything else: I putted well yesterday but the first round I didn’t putt well at all and then today I actually putted OK; just nothing went in,” McIlroy said. “So hopefully if I can play similarly tomorrow and just get a few putts to drop, then maybe there’s a low score out there.”
McIlroy, 25, is coming off a stretch of three straight victories at the Open Championship, BMW Championship and PGA Championship. The Barclays began just 11 days after his PGA win and he admitted a slow start was inevitable, shooting a 74 on Thursday. But he rebounded with a 65 on Friday before the third-round 70.
Because so many points are at stake in the playoff events (five times more than during the regular season), McIlroy is projected to drop to third in the standings based on where he is on the leaderboard, contingent on what other players do.
The top 100 players in points advance to next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston.
“I’ll try and get to at least double digits under par and then go from there and see if I can get there as quickly as possible,” he said. “Then maybe make a bit of a charge. I’ve come from a lot behind before and every time I’m in this position, I always think back to Quail [Wells Fargo Championship where he shot a final-round 62] in 2010. But there’s a lot of guys between me and the leaders. Might just be too much to ask, but try to get to double digits under par and try to finish as high up on the leaderboard as possible and move on to next week.”