Late eagle lifts McIlroy into tie for lead

Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:31pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy spectacularly eagled the par-five 15th to join Billy Horschel in a tie for the lead in the Tour Championship on Saturday and set up a thrilling conclusion to the 2013-14 PGA Tour season.

With the FedExCup playoff title and a bonus jackpot of $10 million on the line at East Lake Golf Club, world number one McIlroy sank a 26-foot putt to draw level at the top, then parred the last three holes to card a three-under-par 67.

That left the Northern Irishman at nine-under 201 in the fourth and final playoff event, level with his American playing partner Horschel, who had been three ahead at the turn before losing momentum over the closing stretch on the way to a 69.

McIlroy has already enjoyed a superb 2014 campaign, clinching two major titles among four wins worldwide, and has set his sights on claiming the FedExCup crown for the first time after a season-long race.

"I haven't played my best golf by any stretch this week, but I'm just sort of grinding out scores and trying to keep myself at the top of the leaderboard," McIlroy told reporters after carding three birdies, his timely eagle and two bogeys.

"Being tied for the lead going into the last day tomorrow with the way I've played this week, I can't really ask for any more," said the 25-year-old, who twice three-putted for bogey during the third round.

"I feel like I've had the best year out of anyone on Tour and I've came here with the ultimate goal of trying to cap it off, trying to put an exclamation point on it."

Horschel is also seeking to end his season with a flourish, having tied for second at the Deutsche Bank Championship earlier this month before winning the BMW Championship six days ago.   Continued...

Sep 13, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Rory McIlroy tees off on the seventeenth hole during the third round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports