Rory McIlroy shot his lowest score as a professional, a course-record 11-under-par 61, to charge into the lead after the third round at the Wells Fargo Championship.

The Northern Irishman used an astonishing display of long driving to overpower Quail Hollow, and struck a series of towering iron shots that honed in on the pins to set up 11 birdies.

I just aimed at the flags today. It's as simple as that. I was taking dead aim

Rory McIlroy, World number one

He posted an 18-under 198 total, a tournament record low score, to open a four-shot lead over American Webb Simpson (68), and a seven-shot advantage over third-placed Robert Streb.

McIlroy's 61 bettered by one stroke the course record he held jointly with Brendon de Jonge.

McIlroy rated it among the best of his career.

"I looked at the scores in the morning and saw there were some low ones out there," the world number one told reporters. "I got a little more aggressive, and it paid off. I just aimed at the flags today. It's as simple as that. I was taking dead aim."

The four-time major champion recalled he once shot a 61 at Portrush in Northern Ireland in an amateur event.

McIlroy had 23 putts, but did not hole anything longer than 15 feet and only once, at the first hole, where he sank a seven-footer for par, was he in serious danger of dropping a shot.

Source: Reuters