McIlroy, Hovland storm into Open lead

Former champion Rory McIlroy and Norway's Viktor Hovland and will take a share of the lead into the final round of the 150th British Open at St Andrews after ending Saturday level on 16 under par.

The duo went out together in the penultimate pairing on Saturday afternoon after sitting at 10-under overnight, three shots behind Australia's Cameron Smith, the leader at the halfway stage on 13 under par.

McIlroy, the Open champion in 2014, posted his second 66 of the week with five birdies as well as a sensational eagle two at the 10th, where he chipped in from a greenside bunker.

The one blemish on his card was a bogey at the difficult 17th.

Hovland, the world number nine who has never enjoyed a top-10 finish at a major, recorded an outstanding six-under-par 66 with six birdies – including four in a row from the third – and no dropped shots.

Sunday risks becoming a straight shoot-out between those two who sit four shots clear of nearest challengers Smith and Cameron Young of the United States.

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Smith and Young went out in the final pairing of the day on Saturday but Smith bogeyed the first and never got going in a one-over-par round of 73.

That left him at 12-under for the championship, level with Young, who had a 71.

Kim Si-woo of South Korea and world number one Scottie Scheffler, the Masters champion, will both go into Sunday at 11-under, while Dustin Johnson is at 10-under.

Tommy Fleetwood shot a fine 66 to sit at nine-under alongside his fellow Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick, the US Open champion, and Australia's Adam Scott. (AFP)

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