McIlroy stays one ahead after wild day at Valhalla

Sat Aug 9, 2014 8:19pm 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.

In pursuit of a third consecutive victory on the PGA Tour, McIlroy 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.

"It's not the biggest lead I've ever had, but I'm still in control of this golf tournament," said world number one McIlroy, who had been two strokes clear after seven holes before bogeying the par-three eighth.

"It's a great position to be in going into tomorrow."

McIlroy was delighted with his finish to the round, sinking a 20-footer on 15, a two-footer on 16 and getting up and down from a greenside bunker to birdie the par-five last.

"I just knew that I needed to make a couple coming down the back nine to keep the lead I had or at least be tied for the lead going into tomorrow," said the 25-year-old Northern Irishman.   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