The World Number Two almost withdrew from the tournament on Friday having strained a muscle in his back, but played through the pain to remain in contention at the Glendower Golf Club.
Further treatment on Saturday morning enabled McIlroy to post a third round 67 which included a brilliant eagle two on the seventh hole where he holed out from 160 yards after a perfect nine iron.
“The back was a little tender this morning – I didn’t really get much sleep last night. I couldn’t get comfortable and I had to wake up in the middle of the night to take a couple of pain killers but the physios did a good job on me this morning and strapped me up pretty well, and then gave me a couple of anti-inflammatories, which helped.
It was a bit uncomfortable for the first five or six holes but then I took another couple of anti-inflammatories in the middle of the round and it actually felt pretty good on the back nine so hopefully it will continue to feel that way, and hopefully this muscle spasm that I have around the joint is sort of subsiding and I will go get some treatment today, and I will get some treatment tomorrow before I go out and hopefully it’s going to get better.” said Rory.
His total of 14 under left him three behind Storm, who followed his course record-equalling 63 of round two with his own 67 on day three to surge to 17 under and in prime position to add a second European Tour title to his CV.
The Englishman almost lost his European Tour card at the end of 2016, but he has turned his form around and is hoping to quickly banish the memory of a poor season with a victory on Sunday.
Joining McIlroy trying to hunt down the leader will be young Englishman Jordan Smith, who topped the European Challenge Tour Rankings in 2016.
Smith posted a third round of 68 to join the leading South African, Jbe Kruger, on 13 under heading into the final round.
Aside that top four, there are 11 players within six shots of Storm’s lead, leaving the final round wide open.