McIlroy stays one ahead after wild day at Valhalla

Sat Aug 9, 2014 7:40pm EDT
 
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy, seeking his fourth major title, ended a pulsating third round of low scoring and frequent lead changes to preserve his one-shot advantage at the PGA Championship on Saturday.

A stroke in front overnight heading into what is traditionally known as 'Moving Day', the British Open champion birdied three of the last four holes on a receptive, rain-sodden Valhalla Golf Club layout to card a four-under-par 67.

McIlroy, who is in pursuit of a third consecutive victory on the PGA Tour, fended off a series of challenges to keep his position at the top of a tightly congested leaderboard as he posted a 13-under total of 200 in the year's fourth and final major.

Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, one of six players who held at least a share of the lead in a wildly fluctuating third round, was alone in second place after matching the day's best score with a 65.

"I didn't expect any of this really coming into this week," Wiesberger, a two-time winner on the European Tour, told reporters after ending his round with three successive birdies. "I knew I was prepared well and the course really suits my eye.

"So far I've taken advantage of this and it's great to finish the round with three birdies in a row, and basically tap-in birdies as well.

"That gives me hopefully good momentum going into tomorrow. It's a new situation for me in a major championship."

American 'young gun' Rickie Fowler, a top-five finisher at each of the year's previous three majors, was at 11 under after firing a 67 with 2005 PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson (67) and Australian Jason Day (69) a further stroke adrift.   Continued...

 
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the ninth hole during the second round of the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder