Don't give up hope at the Open

Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia is at 9 under. So is Dustin Johnson. Garcia is on the very short list of Best Players Never To Have Won A Major. Johnson is on the even shorter list of Best Players Who Would Have Won A Major Had They Remembered To Play Everything As A Bunker.

Garcia doesn't seem to like his chances. He has done the math.

"If [McIlroy] shoots 3 under, I have to shoot 10 [under]," he said.

He added: "If Rory plays the way he's been playing ? it's difficult to see anybody catching him when he's playing like that."

Victor Dubuisson, not to be dismissed, is at 8 under. He'll be playing to avenge all the jokes made about Van de Velde's play on the 18th hole in 1999.

At 7 under is Edoardo Molinari, followed by fellow Italian Matteo Manassero at 6 under. Also at 6 under are world No. 1 Adam Scott, world not-No. 1 Robert Karlsson (140th, actually), Jim Furyk and Charl Schwartzel. They're on the fringe of scoreboard relevance.

Could Scott go Yellow Submarine low? (Clich├ęd Liverpool Beatles reference.) If anybody could out of the minus-6 guys, he's the one.

Could Dubuisson, ranked 23rd in the world, defy golf logic?

Could Garcia or Johnson make the impossible possible?

Could Fowler, who first played against McIlroy in the 2007 Walker Cup (the USA won, by the way), earn his first major?

Uh ? doubtful.

"First things first," McIlroy said. "Just play a good solid round of golf [Sunday]."

One way or another, Sunday will be McIlroy's day. It will be his day of triumph and celebration. Or it will be his day of despair, when he has to explain how he lost a 6-shot 54-hole lead.

If that happens, he really might take up folk singing.

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