KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Third-round play has been halted for the day at the 94th PGA Championship.
And good news for Tiger Woods.
McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, made the turn in 4-under 32 Saturday to grab a share of the lead with Vijay Singh at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course.
“You know, the way I’m looking at it, I’m going into the final day of the final major of the season tied for the lead,” McIlroy said. “So I can’t ask for much more.”
Woods, meanwhile, bogeyed Nos. 4, 5 and 7 to drop out of the top 10, continuing a disturbing weekend trend in the majors this season. Not once in six previous major rounds has Woods broken par on the weekend, costing him opportunities to win both the U.S. Open and last month’s Open Championship. What’s more, he has broken par only once in his past 13 weekend rounds at the majors.
Singh, who at age 49 is vying to become the oldest major champion in history, is 2 under on his third round, while Scott, the British Open runner-up, has made the turn in 32 to move into solo third.
Carl Pettersson, one of three co-leaders entering Saturday, is holding steady at 4 under, two shots back.
But the story of the third round – save, of course, for the severe thunderstorms that soaked this Pete Dye layout – has been the play of McIlroy, the third-ranked player in the world. Since that resounding victory in last year’s U.S. Open, which many pundits suggested would spawn the dawning of the Rory Era, the kid from Northern Ireland has failed to finish better than 25th in five major appearances.
After an opening-round 67 on the Ocean Course, McIlroy was blown away in the high winds Friday but managed a 75 that kept him in contention. He birdied his first two holes Saturday, then was lucky to find his ball on the third hole, after his tee shot came to rest in a tree branch. He took an unplayable lie and saved par, then rattled off three more birdies, on Nos. 5, 7 and 8, before dropping a stroke on the ninth before the horn sounded at 4:50 p.m. EDT.
Play was called for the day at 6:30 p.m. Tournament officials announced that play would resume at 7:45 a.m. Sunday, and the final round is scheduled to begin at 11:44. The final round will be played in threesomes, off split tees, with the final group going off at 1:45 p.m.
Said McIlroy, “You’ve got to take what you’re given and get on with it and make the best of it.”