“It does feels very similar to last year, yes,” McIlroy said. “I played pretty good the first couple of days, shot a good 67 on the Saturday to lie a couple back and I felt my game got better each and every day. And that’s sort of how its felt this year as well. A bit scrappy Thursday and Friday, but definitely a lot, lot better today. Hopefully that will continue and I can bring it into tomorrow.
“Yeah, I’m feeling good. But then I have been feeling good all year and staying patient. It’s just a matter of doing the right things and doing them day after day. And if I do all those, maybe tomorrow’s the day that I can put it all together and it will be good enough.”
There is not only Fitzpatrick representing the flag of St George at the top end of the leaderboard but the Londoner Matt Wallace in third in seven-under, alongside American Kevin Kisner and Australia’s Aaron Baddeley. Playing alongside Fitzpatrick, Wallace compiled a 69 to stand on seven-under. Two shots further behind is Buckinghamshire’s Tyrrell Hatton after matching McIlroy’s 66.
There could be a feelgood story for English golf on the European Tour, as well. Oliver Wilson, the former Ryder Cup player, shot a third-round 69 at the Qatar Masters to move to 10-under and stand one ahead of Australian Nick Cullen, Spaniard Nacho Elvira, Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera and South African Erik van Rooyen.