Rory McIlroy In Contention For Third Successive RBC Canadian Open Win

McIlroy is in a strong position to claim his third successive title in the tournament at Oakdale Golf and Country Club

Rory McIlroy during the 2023 RBC Canadian Open
Rory McIlroy is in contention for his third successive RBC Canadian Open win
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy showed signs of returning to his very best during the third round of the RBC Canadian Open, and he remains well in contention for his first PGA Tour win of 2023 and his third in a row in the tournament.

The 34-year-old heads into Sunday’s final round on 12-under following his six-under 66, which included a 29-foot birdie on the 13th, to leave him two shots behind overnight leader C.T Pan.

See more

McIlroy's far from alone chasing the Taiwanese player, though, with five other players tied for second to set up an intriguing fourth round. 

Tommy Fleetwood hit five birdies on the back nine to leave him in contention for his maiden win on the PGA Tour. Fellow Englishman Justin Rose also rallied brilliantly on the back nine, with six birdies in his last seven holes, while Mark Hubbard, Harry Higgs and Andrew Novak complete the chasing pack of six.

A birdie for Pan on the 17th was enough to separate him from the others, and his round got even better on the final hole with another birdie on the par-5 to take a two-shot cushion into Sunday as he looks for his second PGA Tour win. 

With his recent history in the RBC Canadian Open and his current ranking of third in the world, though, much of the attention will be on McIlroy on Sunday as he aims to become the first player to win the tournament three times in a row.

Despite holding such a strong position, he will not be taking anything for granted, particularly after heading into the final round of last week’s Memorial Tournament tied for the lead before fading on the Sunday.

McIlroy eventually had to settle for a tie for seventh at Muirfield Village, which hinted he hasn’t quite seen off his difficulties over recent months after missing the cut at both The Players Championship and The Masters.

Nevertheless, he was encouraged by his round at Oakdale Golf and Country Club that included six birdies. He said: “I got off to a great start. Three under through that first nine holes I felt was a really good effort. Kept it going through the first part of the back nine. Then the putter went a little cold on me over those last five holes. 

"But, yeah, overall, it's great to put myself in with a shot tomorrow. There's a lot of people up there around the lead, so it's going to be a fun day. I would love to win the Canadian Open for the third time. I've never won a tournament three times in a row."

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.