MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Nobody likes missing the cut by a stroke, and doing it in a major championship at home hurts even more.
Rory McIlroy is showing he can bounce back quickly.
McIlroy shot an 8-under 62 on Saturday in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational to take a 1-stroke lead over Brooks Koepka at the World Golf Championships event.
McIlroy, who missed the cut by a stroke last week in the British Open on his home turf in Northern Ireland, had a nine-birdie, one-bogey round to move from a tie for 17th to the top of the leaderboard at TPC Southwind. The man who shattered the screen of a woman's cellphone with his opening tee shot at Royal Portrush finished the round Saturday with three straight birdies.
"I guess the pressure's off a little bit," McIlroy said.
"You've had a bad week and you go to the next week and you say, 'OK I didn't do this well, I didn't do this well.' So you're sort of trying to focus on that rather than winning the tournament. So for me, this week I wanted to focus on neutralizing my ball flight and trying to dial in my distances. All of a sudden, those two little focus points have made me play some good golf again."
McIlroy capped his birdie spurt by rolling in a 27-footer on the par-4 18th after putting his tee shot into a fairway bunker. He had a 12-under 198 total.
Two groups behind McIlroy, Koepka (64) had his chances. The world's top-ranked player finished with three straight pars. Now Koepka and McIlroy, who played the first two rounds together, will play together Sunday for the first time in a final round.
Second-round leader Matthew Fitzpatrick (69) was third, 2 strokes back. Marc Leishman (63), Alex Noren (66) and Jon Rahm (68) were 3 shots behind.
"It is exciting," McIlroy said. "He's the No. 1 player in the world, four majors in the last three years. He's the man right now. I got to play with him the last couple days and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing what he can do."
Koepka says Sunday should be fun duking it out with McIlroy with so much on the line.
"That's who you want to go up against, especially if he's going to be playing this good," Koepka said.
Cresting a wave of South Koreans atop the Evian Championship leaderboard Saturday, Hyo Joo Kim fired a third-round 65 to move 1 shot clear on 15-under 198.
Kim's latest impressive round of majors golf did not quite match her very first — a record 61 here as a teenager five years ago when she took the title in her elite debut.
Top-ranked Sung Hyun Park closed the gap in second by making a birdie on the par-5 18th for a 5-under 66.
And 4 shots back in a tie for third place were seven-time major winner Inbee Park (69) and Jin Young Ko (66), who won the season's first major, the ANA Inspiration, in April.
Play started early in cooler conditions and finished at 2:15 p.m. local time just as a stormy downpour arrived.
Sunday's forecast calls for persistent rain and a temperature drop of about 30 degrees Fahrenheit from the opening-round heatwave on Thursday.