Rory McIlroy shot into contention at the US Open in Torrey Pines after a superb card of 67 left him just two strokes off the lead at the conclusion of his third round.

On the tenth anniversary of his maiden major victory at the 2011 US Open at Congressional, McIlroy shot an exemplary round decorated by five birdies and blemished only by a solitary bogey to sit in a tie for third spot, two behind leaders Russell Henley, Louis Oosthuizen and Mackenzie Hughes.

The Down golfer began the day at +1, six strokes back after a frustrating round of 73 on Friday.

He made a solid opening to his round, carding a birdie at the 2nd and eight pars in his outward nine to reach the turn at even par.


However, it was after the turn that he really found his groove, rattling in three birdies in four holes from 10th to the 13th, the most remarkable of them coming at the 12th when he spectacularly holed out from the greenside rough.

He amazingly hit the pin with his approach to the 13th from 260 yards, but did well to two-putt from long range for birdie to edge closer to the lead.

A rare wayward drive at the 15th cost him a penalty stroke after he pulled his tee-shot into a ravine.

But the four-time major winner scrambled well to limit the damage, hooking his approach around the trees and getting up and down from shy of the green to save bogey, his only dropped stroke of the round.

After saving par from a greenside bunker on the 16th, McIlroy parred the 17th and then birdied the par-five 18th to boost his chances of ending his seven-year major drought.

Asked about the prospect of winning another major on the 10th anniversary of his first victory, McIlroy, who has defending champion Bryson DeChambeau alongside him on three under for company, told Sky Sports: "It would mean an awful lot. I am just so happy that I've given myself another chance.

"It feels like a while since I've had a chance to win a major championship going into a Sunday and it was great to play a round of golf today to give myself that chance.

"It's not going to be quite as easy as it was 10 years ago but my game feels good and a round like today proves I can go out there again and try to do the same thing tomorrow."

Henley had covered the front nine in one under par to enjoy a two-shot lead over England's Richard Bland, who only won his first European Tour title at the 478th attempt five weeks ago.

Bland began the week as a 500/1 outsider and 115th in the world, remarkably the same ranking Phil Mickelson held before he became the oldest major champion in history by winning the US PGA, eight days after Bland's victory in the British Masters.

The 48-year-old, who is the oldest player to lead or share the lead after 36 holes in US Open history, was largely unknown in the United States before this week, but quietly fancied his chances after seeing the course.

"I was coming here off a couple of good results, a win and a third in Europe," Bland said. "I've been driving the ball well for five, six weeks now, which is the cornerstone if you're going to put a fight up for a US Open.

"When I saw this place on Monday, it kind of set up to my eye. It's all there just straight in front of me, and that's the kind of golf course I like. There's nothing kind of jumping out and grabbing you or anything like that."

Earlier, Shane Lowry, who just made it inside the cut line following a 74 on Friday, carded a +1 round of 72 to sit at +5 for the competition and in a tie for 45th place.