'I felt OK on the range and stuff, but then going out on the golf course, I notice when I'm not quite – little things start agitating me and you start to hear cameras you don't hear usually,' McIlroy said Saturday. 'It's just a sign that I'm just a little tired.'
The U.S. Open champion played a sluggish third round at Hong Kong GC, shooting even par to fall three shots back of Alvaro Quiros. McIlroy would have fallen further behind were it not for a pair of birdies in the final six holes to pull even on the round.
The world No. 2 will play Sunday for his first win in this event after a pair of runner-ups and a sixth place last year. McIlroy must finish at least second to have any chance of catching Luke Donald for the European Tour Order of Merit title next week in Dubai.
Even with all that on the line, McIlroy seems to be se4arching for a spark.
'I'm struggling to try and get anything going. That will be the challenge for me tomorrow, to try to get myself up 100 percent for it,' he said. 'Hope I can give myself a real chance.'