McIlroy leads at end of 3rd round at PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy hits an iron shot.
Rory McIlroy hits an iron shot.

KIAWAH ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - The third round of PGA Championship play is over, and Rory McIlroy sits comfortably atop the leaderboard at 7-under par.

Conditions were ideal for scoring Sunday morning, but McIlroy was one of the only players to take advantage, shooting a 35 on the back to head into the clubhouse with a sterling round of 67.

Vijay Singh, who went into this morning tied for the lead, has fallen all the way to 2-under with bogeys on Nos. 10, 12 and 14 and a double bogey on No. 15.

After a bit of a slow start, McIlroy scored with birdies at Nos. 15 and 16 and maintained par on Nos. 17 and 18.  Following the round, McIlroy seemed pleased with his ball-striking.

"I think I hit every fairway.  Only missed a couple greens, gave myself plenty of looks, plenty of chances for birdies.  But I thought it was just a continuation of how I played yesterday afternoon.  I struck the ball beautifully from tee to green."

Being in the lead going into the final round has been treacherous ground for most players on tour this season, but McIlroy said his experience will help him there.

"I think you see a lot of guys that haven't held on in the past, it's been a first-time experience for them.  You kniw, I learned a lot from the Masters last year [...] I think Augusta last year will stand me in great stead this afternoon."

Carl Pettersson, who topped the leaderboard after the 2nd round, is three shots back of the lead at 4-under, and was happy to finish his round Sunday morning, "I think it was an advantage.  The wind was very light [...] I didn't really take advantage of it shooting even par, but it's definitely easier this morning than it was yesterday."

Trevor Immelman, who has not recorded a top 10 finish since his Masters win in 2008, is tied for third with Bo Van Pelt and Adam Scott at 3-under.

After his round, Scott said,"I still feel like 70 was a good score, third round of the PGA.  It wasn't that easy yesterday, and I kept myself in this tournament with a chance.  We've all seen four back in no big deal."

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods scrambled for a 34 on the back nine in his customary Sunday red. After shooting a 40 on the front nine Saturday, he was able to make some birdies on the back to take him to 2-under for the tournament, five strokes off the lead.

Woods is in a four-way tie for 6th place with Singh, Steve Stricker and Peter Hanson, and the 14-time Major winner was very happy to get back in the mix.

"I'm right there.  I was at one point six back, and we had a lot of holes to play, so I was very encouraged the way I dug down deep and got this thing turned around and gave myself a chance going into this afternoon."

Woods also admitted the rain postponement probably bailed him out a little yesterday," I figured the goal was to just come back out here and get to even par for the day, somehow grind it out and get back to even par [...] But I played myself back into the tournament."

Woods' playing partner for the third round, Singh, was also happy with the morning conditions but cited a club selection error at No. 14 and a pushed shot on No. 15 for leaving some scoring on the course.

Nonetheless, Singh's happy with where he is, "I'm in a good position.  I'm not in a great position but in a good position, so I need to go out there and shoot 4-,5- under and see what happens for the rest of the round."

Graeme McDowell looked to be making a charge, but came back to earth with a double bogey on No. 18, dropping him to 1-under for the tournament.

The final round is scheduled to begin at 11:44 a.m. and the last group of the day is scheduled to tee off at 1:45 p.m. Saturday tickets will not be honored on Sunday.

Players will play in groups of three, rather than the customary two, in order to complete tournament play by Sunday evening.

It is sure to be exciting day jam packed with golf at The Ocean Course.

COULD HE BE THE OLDEST?: Vijay Singh, who turns 50 on February 22, 2013, is trying to become the oldest player to win a major golf championship. Julius Boros was 48 years, 4 months and 18 days old when he won the 1968 PGA Championship at Pecan Valley Country Club in San Antonio, Texas. Boros is the oldest golfer to win a major championship.