Rory McIlroy followed up his sizzling 63 from Thursday with a good-enough-to-retain-the-lead 70 on Friday. It wasn't what he thought it would be though.
According to EuropeanTour.com when asked if he expected to pull away from the field on Friday McIlroy was confident that he would.
"I thought so, yes," McIlroy said. "Making a few birdies on the front nine and turning two under par was a good effort, especially as the wind started to get up."
It's not a tournament-ending dagger, however, as much as a missed opportunity.
McIlroy revelaled to Golf Channel after his round that he was playing with a bit of illness on Friday but didn't blame his 70 on that.
He still leads American Brooks Koepka by one shot and a trio of Danny Willett, Damien McGrane, and Julian Quesne by three.
McIlroy is just a stroke off the pace he set after two rounds at this tournament in 2009 when he went on to beat Justin Rose by one stroke on the weekend by posting a 67-70 finish.
McIlroy knows he's in the driver's seat.
"I will just go back tonight and regroup and realize that I am still leading the tournament. I hit a couple of loose drives which I haven't done the last couple of weeks but I still feel like I'm playing well enough to go and win the tournament."
Despite a back nine that included two bogeys and a ghastly 18-inch miss (and subsequent three-putt), McIlroy is confident with where's at.
"I have led from the front quite well in tournaments that I have won. I feel like I am still playing well, I know the course as well as anyone else and I expect to go out there and shoot two good scores over the weekend and hopefully lift the trophy."
When asked if he expected to win on Sunday.
"I do. I am leading the tournament, I've been in this position before and went on to win."
I expect him to as well.