Updated: Saturday, 19 July 2014 20:59 | By Agence France-Presse

McIlroy holds three shot lead at Open

Rory McIlroy remained in control at the British Open on Saturday as he carried a three shot lead into the back nine with a storm expected to disrupt play at Hoylake.

McIlroy holds three shot lead at Open

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy watches a tee shot during the British Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, northwest England, on July 19, 2014 - by Peter Muhly

The two-time major winning Ulsterman shook off a bogey at the first to tighten up his game with three straight pars before a key birdie at the par five fifth lifted him to 12-under par and kept charging American Rickie Fowler three shots back. 

Fowler struck three birdies over his first five holes and was tied with Spaniard Sergio Garcia in second while South African Charl Schwartzel, American Dustin Johnson and Spaniard Sergio Garcia were a further shot back on eight under. 

Ryder Cup bound Frenchman Victor Dubuisson was enjoying a fine front nine as he got onto the leaderboard with four birdies and a tie for fourth in a trio that included Jim Furyk and fellow American Dustin Johnson. 

Northern Irishman Darren Clarke, the Open winner in 2011 at Royal St. Georges, got himself into contention on five under with a run of four birdies and a chance to finish his round ahead of the bad weather as an early starter. 

The field began at both the first and 10th holes for the first time in Open history as bad weather overnight and the expected thunder and lightning forced organisers to reorganise he schedule. 

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn