McIlroy holds on to narrow lead at PGA

Rory McIlroy fired a third round 67 to have a one shot lead at 13-under over Austrian Bernd Wiesberger moving into the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla in Kentucky.

“It’s not the biggest lead I’ve ever had,” said McIlroy, who led by eight, three and six shots after 54 holes in his previous major wins. “But I’m still in control of this golf tournament. It’s a great place to be going into tomorrow.”

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy in action during the third round of the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla, Kentucky (Credit: Anthony Powter)

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Rickie Fowler is in outright 3rd position at 11-under with Phil Mickelson and Jason Day in a share of 4th at 10-under, three strokes by McIlroy.

With 18 players within six shots of the lead, McIlroy will be aware of the challenge ahead as he moves into the final round seeking to continue a phenomenal run of late, which featured wins in the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and the Bridgestone Invitational as he returned to the world number one position.

“I’m loving it,” says McIlroy about leading into another Sunday at a major.

“It’s where I want to be. It’s the best place to be in a golf tournament but there’s plenty of quality players also to contend against tomorrow.”

“Obviously, it brings its nerves and stresses but that’s what I work hard for, to be in the best position in a golf tournament.”

McIlroy is playing with the confidence of someone who knows he can win, maybe even should win. A look at his stats reveals that McIlroy is a combined 26-under in his past six rounds of majors.

And if he wins the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday, only two active players would have more career majors than McIlroy – Phil Mickelson (5), Tiger Woods (14).

But this is another great finish to a major this season and the title is really up for grabs.

Rickie Fowler is just two behind and looking dangerous. Fowler has compiled the best record to par of any player at 29-under in 15 competitive rounds in the majors this season. That’s how good he’s been, but he’s yet to win one.

Fowler was tied for fifth at this year’s Masters, tied for second at the US Open and again tied for second at the British Open. He’s due but will have to overcome a formidable group of established stars and young guns who spent today threatening McIlroy.

Aussie Jason Day was one of them and at a one point held the lead after birdies at the fourth hole and again at the 13th hole but ultimately failed to take full advantage of soft scoring conditions, settling for a two-under 69.

A birdie on the 18th providing Day with momentum going into tomorrow’s final round and a perfect way to finish what otherwise was a up-and-down round.

“It just made things a lot easier with how things went,” said Day who is three behind McIlroy.

“I was a little frustrated with the putting today, just didn’t look like it was going in. I’m still positive with how I’m playing. I feel like I’m playing pretty good golf. I shot 65 yesterday, so it’s definitely out there.”

Adam Scott had a impressive third round 66 to move into 13th position at 7-under to be poised for another top-10 major finish.

Geoff Ogilvy and Matt Jones are in a tie for 42nd position at 2-under, with Marc Leishman at 1-over-par and in a tie for 63rd.