Rory McIlroy blazes his way to share of the lead after 65 at Sawgrass

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The only disappointment is that the blue-chip Sawgrass scenario arrives a day early. Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy will take to the third round of the Players Championship tied for the lead at 12 under par in the kind of scene the PGA Tour would be delighted to see rumble into Sunday. Golf needs marquee match-ups such as this.

An inspired back nine of 31 by McIlroy, which included an eagle three at the 16th and a birdie putt from 29 feet a hole later, saw him claw back Fleetwood from a seemingly untouchable position. The Northern Irishman’s Friday 65 meant he tied his best 36-hole aggregate to par in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event. On the other three occasions McIlroy has reached minus 12 after two days the prize has been his on Sunday.

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