Rory McIllroy left a pile of corpses behind him when he went out for the fourth round of the Canadian Open in Ancaster, Ontario and made 61 look routine.
He was flirting briefly with 59, maybe even 58, before he bogeyed the 16th hole while leading by eight shots.
McIllroy then made an easy eagle on the 17th and something below 60 was again part of the conversation.
He seemed aware of the opportunity to go low, as he never took his foot off the pedal over the final holes, but then again, the certain knowledge that nothing he did could result in anyone catching him doubtless gave him the freedom to accept any risk.
Needing only par on the 18th to card a 60, McIllroy shot five on the par four 18th.
Conditions were ideal for scoring during the Canadian Open.
Brandt Snedeker fired a 60 in the second round.
Fifty-eight of the players that made the cut and played the final two rounds were under par for the tournament.
McIllroy is one of those professionals who can get into a zone where the game becomes almost automatic.
After the round, he spoke with reporters and drew comparisons to when he shot an identical 61 when he was still a teenager.
“I think when you play, you get into stretches like this, you do get into some sort of flow, that flow state or in the zone or whatever anyone wants to call it. I definitely got into that a little bit today at the start of the back nine. It was the same that day at Portrush all those years ago,” McIlroy said.
It was the first time McIllroy had played the Canadian Open, adding it to his schedule as a lead up to next week’s U.S. Open.
He is quoted a $9 co-favourite with Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson for the second Major of the season and will be looking to back his strong finish in Canada with a strong opening at Pebble Beach.