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McIlroy's Barclays challenge fades as leaders push on

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Rory McIlroy remains well off the leaders ahead of Sunday's final round © Getty Images
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Rory McIlroy faded after a quick start on Saturday at The Barclays, settling for a one-under-par 70 that will leave him well behind the leaders entering the final round at Ridgewood Country Club.

Day and Furyk share lead

  • Jim Furyk was steady. Jason Day was wild. Both wound up with a share of the lead going into the final round of The Barclays.
  • Day lost his golf ball in a mound of high grass and took a double bogey on the par-5 13th. He also took four shots to get down from a bunker on the par-5 17th for a bogey. But the Australian made enough birdies for a 3-under 68.
  • Furyk played bogey-free Saturday at Ridgewood for a 69 and joined Day in the lead at 9-under-par.
  • The final round of this opening FedEx Cup play-off event will be wide open. Hunter Mahan made bogey on the last hole for a 68 and was one shot behind. Fifteen players were separated by three shots.

McIlroy, who is attempting to win four straight tournaments, made early birdies on the first and fifth holes, but could not sustain the good start, making just one more birdie the rest of the day and adding two bogeys.

He was in a tie for 23rd and five strokes back of the leaders as they made the turn at the first of four FedEx Cup play-off events. McIlroy is 4-under for the tournament.

"I can't put it down to anything else: I putted well yesterday but the first round I didn't putt well at all and then today I actually putted OK; just nothing went in," McIlroy said. "So hopefully if I can play similarly tomorrow and just get a few putts to drop, then maybe there's a low score out there."

McIlroy, 25, is coming off a stretch of three straight victories at The Open, BMW Championship and US PGA Championship. The Barclays began just 11 days after his US PGA win and he admitted a slow start was inevitable, shooting 74 on Thursday. But he rebounded with a 65 on Friday before the third-round 70.

Because so many points are at stake in the play-off events (five times more than during the regular season), McIlroy is projected to drop to third in the standings based on where he is on the leaderboard, contingent on what other players do.

The top 100 players in points advance to next week's Deutsche Bank Championship.

"I'll try and get to at least double digits under par and then go from there and see if I can get there as quickly as possible," he said. "Then maybe make a bit of a charge. I've come from a lot behind before and every time I'm in this position, I always think back to Quail [Wells Fargo Championship where he shot a final-round 62] in 2010.

"There's a lot of guys between me and the leaders. Might just be too much to ask, but try to get to double digits under par and try to finish as high up on the leaderboard as possible and move on to next week."

The Barclays Leaderboard

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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