NEWCASTLE, United Kingdom (AFP) - Rory McIlroy produced his lowest European Tour score in over two years with a sizzling six-under par 64 on day three of the British Masters at Close House in Newcastle on Saturday (Sept 30).
McIlroy didn't drop a shot in managing six birdies to move to a share of the clubhouse lead on 10-under par.
He joined Swede David Lingmerth, who produced the lowest round of the week, an eight-under par 62.
But as McIlroy and Lingmerth enjoyed lunch, overnight leader Tyrrell Hatton was struggling early in his round.
McIlroy did shoot a closing 64 in June's PGA Tour Travelers Championship in Connecticut, however his British Masters effort is a lowest European Tour round since a second round 64 on route to victory in the 2015 Dubai Desert Classic.
It also boosted McIlroy's hopes of winning for a first time this season in what is his penultimate event of the year.
"I felt today I got the most out of my round as I scrambled well when I needed to," he said.
"Some of these three or four footers that you leave yourself are pretty tricky as the greens are soft, along with some heel prints and stuff, so I was just trying to make a committed stroke as I could and thankfully they did for me today.
"So, it was nice as I gave myself plenty of chances and it is always nice to be bogey-free, as well."
After a no-frills opening two days, McIlroy finally gave the crowd something to cheer about, including chipping-in from pin high and left of the green at the par three, fifth hole.
Then for a third day running McIlroy birdied the par five sixth hole ahead of birdying the ninth and 13th holes for a second occasion in three days.
McIlroy moved to 10-under for the event holing a five-footer from behind the flag at the par three 17th.
"The crowds out there were brilliant today with a lot of people out there, so it was nice to have that support," McIlroy said.
"It was also nice to hit shots like that chip-in on five in front of them and give a nice reaction but it has been great all week including a huge number on the tee when I teed-off on Thursday."