Rory McIlroy grabs three-shot lead at PGA Championship
12 Aug 2012 - 17:16:54
Former US Open winner Rory McIlroy birdied two straight holes on the back nine to take a three-stroke lead after the third round of the rain-hit 94th PGA Championship.
The 23-year-old Northern Irishman completed his final nine holes of the third round Sunday morning. He birdied the par-four 15th and then made a 10-foot putt for birdie on the par-five 16th.
McIlroy, who went one-under on the back nine Sunday morning, is at seven-under 209 while Carl Pettersson, who shot a even-par 72, is three shots back at four-under 212.
"I thought it was just a continuation of how I played yesterday afternoon. When I holed that putt on 15 it was nice to see a ball go in the hole and it got me going," McIlroy said.
Australia's Adam Scott (70), American Bo Van Pelt (67) and South African Trevor Immelman (70) are one shot back of Pettersson at three-under 213.
Second round co-leaders Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh are in a group of four at two-under.
After one of the toughest rounds in PGA Championship history on Friday, Mother Nature bared her teeth for the second day in a row on Saturday, forcing organizers to suspend play because of a wind and rain.
Organizers halted play Saturday with 26 players still on the course. They resumed early Sunday and the final round will tee off in groups of three with the leaders going off Sunday afternoon.
Players teed off Sunday morning under clear skies and just a light wind but weather forecaster say there is a chance of rain later in the day.
McIlroy, the 2011 US Open winner, is hoping to reverse his bad fortune in majors so far this year. He tied for 40th at the Masters, tied for 60th at the British Open and missed the cut the US Open. He won earlier this year at the PGA Tour's Honda Classic.
He has looked solid at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort course this week and was pleased with his third round.
"I hit every fairway," McIlroy said. "I only missed a couple of greens and gave myself some pretty good looks."
McIlroy has his work cut out for him as all three majors this year have been won by players coming from behind.
No one knows that better than Scott who is trying to erase memories of his collapse at the 2012 British Open where he closed with four-consecutive bogeys to lose a four-shot lead to Ernie Els.
Scott birdied four of the final five holes of his front nine in the third round.
Woods, who is chasing his 15th major title, benefitted the most from Saturday's suspended third round. He began his round on Saturday with three pars but then made bogey on three of the next four holes.
But he came back Sunday and birdied three of the first seven holes on the more difficult back nine at the Ocean Course to finish at two-over 74. He is tied for sixth, five shots adrift of McIlroy.
"I am right there," Woods said. "I am very encouraged with the way I dug down deep and go this thing turned around."