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Published: 19:03 | 16/7/16

McIlroy slips down Open leaderboard

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy shot a two-over-par 73 to slip down the Open leaderboard on Saturday.

Sweden's Henrik Stenson leads Phil Mickelson of the United States by one stroke going into the final day, following a third-round 68 that leaves him 12-under after 54 holes.

Mickelson signed for a one-under 70 to finish 11-under, five shots clear of Bill Haas in third.

The 2014 Open champion missed a series of birdie chances on the outward nine, despite showing great control from the tee in windy conditions, to finish the third day on level par for the tournament.

McIlroy suffered three bogeys in his opening five holes, and, as the frustration mounted, the four-time major winner smashed the head of his fairway wood off after a poor approach to the 16th.

The Ulsterman says the three-wood's head came loose in part because he had took the club in for repairs earlier in the week.

"The club head came loose on it earlier on the week. I had to get the head re-glued. So it was probably partly to do with that and partly the throw as well," he said.

''I let one go right on the previous hole, a three iron, and I did the same thing there. It was basically a bad swing.''

Tournament organisers decided not to cut or roll the greens, with winds of 25mph forecast, and McIlroy admitted the decision affected his putting.

"When you're putting in 25mph winds and the greens are a lot slower than you're used to, these things can happen," he said.

2007 and 2008 champions Padraig Harrington is two-over for the tournament following a third-round 73, while 2011 champion Darren Clarke is a shot further back after signing for a 73 following three bogeys in his closing four holes.

Graeme McDowell had a triple bogey six on the Postage Stamp eighth hole to sign for a 72 which left him five over after 54 holes.

Day 4 of the Open Championship is live on eir Sport on Sunday.

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