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McIlroy maintains lead ahead of Irish Open final round

World number three Rory McIlroy parred his final three holes of Irish Open third round on Sunday to maintain a three-shot lead over Danny Willett.

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Rory McIlroy will take a three-shot lead into the final day at the Irish Open after completing his rain-affected third round on Sunday morning.

The world number three was unable to finish on Saturday as the threat of lightning and then rain caused two lengthy weather delays.

He returned along with playing partner Danny Willett early on Sunday and rattled off three successive pars to remain nine-under, with Willett his nearest competitor on -6.

"To be leading going into the final round is great," McIlroy told the European Tour's official website.

"We have a pretty strong leaderboard so it should be a brilliant final round.

"That's my first bogey-free round in a while and if I can continue to keep the bogeys off the card and pick up a few birdies then I will be alright.

"That will be the game plan."

Meanwhile, Willett – playing his first European Tour event since winning The Masters – will look to push McIlroy all the way on the final day after also carding three pars to complete his third round.

"I'm only three back going into the final round, so there's still everything to play for," he said.

"It's been scrappy at times but I've also hit some good golf shots, and hopefully I can hit a few more."

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