McIlroy and Hovland will compete for the open title in St. Andrews

Former champion Rory McIlroy and Norway’s Victor Hovland will take a share of the lead in the final round of the 150th British Open at St Andrews after finishing Saturday level 16 below parity.

The duo came out together in the penultimate pair on Saturday afternoon after going through the night at 10 under par, three shots behind Australia’s Cameron Smith, the halfway lead with 13 under par.


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

The only flaw on his card was a scarecrow in a tight 17th place.

Hovland, world number nine, who has never finished in the top 10 in a major, had an outstanding six-under-par 66 record with six birds, including four in a row from third, and no missed shots.

Sunday risks turning into a head-to-head shootout between the two who are four shots ahead of closest rivals Smith and Cameron Young of the United States.

Smith and Young advanced to the final pair of the day on Saturday, but Smith was the first to scare and never made it to one over par in the round of 73.

This left him 12th short for the championship, on par with Young, who had 71.

Kim Si Woo of South Korea and World No. 1 Scotty Scheffler, the Masters champion, will both depart on Sunday as under-11s, with Dustin Johnson as under-10s.

Tommy Fleetwood scored 66 points and was nine short of his compatriot Matt Fitzpatrick, US Open champion, and Australian Adam Scott.