Kiawah Island, SC – Rory McIlroy finished off a 5-under 67 on Sunday morning to take the third-round lead of The PGA Championship.
McIlroy had nine holes to complete of his third round Sunday after storms stopped play on Saturday at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. He played the back in 1-under par and is three shots clear at 7-under 209.
Tiger Woods, one of three co-leaders after the second round, didn't make any move Sunday morning. He played his final 11 holes in even-par, shot a 2-over 72 for the third round and is five back at 2-under 214.
"I got back in it," Woods said on TV. "I've got a shot this afternoon."
Fellow second-round co-leader Vijay Singh, who shared the lead with McIlroy when play was called on Saturday, went 4-over in the morning, signed for a 2- over 74 and joined Woods in a share of sixth.
Carl Pettersson, the lesser-known of the three second-round co-leaders, managed an even-par 72 and is second at minus-4.
Adam Scott didn't have to wait long to atone for the horrendous finish to The Open Championship. His 2-under 70 in round three moved him into a tie for third with former Masters champion Trevor Immelman (70) and Bo Van Pelt (67). The trio finished at 3-under par.
The final round will be contested in threesomes off both the first and 10th tees. The third round was suspended Saturday afternoon due to heavy storms, then players returned to the Ocean Course in blue skies and beautiful conditions Sunday morning.
The problem was, very few contenders took advantage of said conditions, especially the final pairing.
Woods, a four-time PGA champion, and second-round co-leader, bogeyed three of his last four holes Saturday and left himself almost 10 feet for par at the eighth when play stopped. He fell down to 1-under par for the tournament and was five off the lead.
On Sunday, Woods missed that par putt, but rebounded with birdies at 11, 13 and 16 to creep back to 3-under par. An errant tee shot at 17 led to a bogey.
He parred the last and is five behind McIlroy, who can make history on Sunday.
The world No. 3 is now in position for his second major title and if emerges victorious Sunday, McIlroy will become the youngest player in golf history to capture two majors at the age of 23 years, three months.
The current record holder is Woods. He won this title at Medinah in 1999 and 23 years, seven months, but if he's to get his first major title in over four years, he will have to confound some pretty substantial data.
Woods has never come from behind in the final round to win any of his 14 majors.
This year, Woods has not broken par on the weekend in seven major championship rounds. He was a co-leader after two rounds at the U.S. Open as well, but ended up in a tie for 21st.
McIlroy will be tough to catch with a 3-shot lead, but every major winner this year came from behind in the final round to do it.
What's terrifying for the field might be the fact that McIlroy could have easily gone lower Sunday morning.
After a bogey on the ninth, his final hole Saturday, McIlroy had five feet for birdie Sunday morning at the 10th. He missed that putt, then missed a 3-footer for birdie at 11. McIlroy even had a good look from inside 12 feet for birdie at 12 and didn't convert that either.
"It wasn't the start I wanted to get off to today," McIlroy said in a televised interview. "I gave myself a few chances."
McIlroy hit a 3-wood off the 13th tee and left himself with a 3-iron into the green. He missed the putting surface and chipped to four feet. His putt stayed above ground and he fell to 5-under par.
After a par at 14, McIlroy went on a run to move past the field.
He knocked his approach eight feet past the flag at 15 and poured in the birdie putt. McIlroy reached the par-5 16th green in two and 2-putted for birdie. He was 7-under and just waited for everyone else to falter down the stretch.
"To come in and play the last four holes in 2-under was very nice," McIlroy said.
Steve Stricker finished his 5-under 67 on Saturday, but he is tied with Woods, Singh and Peter Hanson (70) at 2-under 214.
NOTES: Defending champion Keegan Bradley is at even-par...Phil Mickelson is 1- over...The last time the third round wasn't completed on Saturday at the PGA Championship was the 2008 edition...Van Pelt will be in the final threesome Sunday despite finishing his round on Saturday.