Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rory McIlroy leads by 1 at PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Rory McIlroy played the kind of golf Saturday that typically would put him in control at a major championship. Staked to a one-shot lead in the PGA Championship, he made three birdies over his last four holes for 4-under 67.

All that did was allow him to stay in front — barely.

More rain in the morning allowed for a deluge of birdies during a third round so wild that six players had a share of the lead at one point. The cheers for so many birdies resounding across the back nine made McIlroy, in the final pairing as the second-round leader, realize it was time to step up.

He rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 15. His approach from 172 yards landed with a splat next to the hole on 16 for an easy birdie, and he took a one-shot lead over Bernd Wiesberger by getting up-and-down from a front bunker on the par-5 18th.

McIlroy, at 13-under 200 and going for his third straight tournament win, loves the view from the top. He has won all three of his majors with the lead.

"It's not the biggest lead I've ever had," said McIlroy, who led by eight, three and six after 54 holes in his previous major wins. "But I'm still in control of this golf tournament. It's a great place to be going into (today)."

Today could be a thriller. Eight players were within four shots of the lead, including Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Louis Oosthuizen.

Wiesberger closed with three straight birdies — the putts were a combined 3 feet, 6 inches — for 65. Playing in only his sixth major championship, and with no wins in seven PGA Tour starts, the 28-year-old Austrian gets to play in the final group at a major with the No. 1 player in the world.

"From now on, it's just a bonus, really," said Wiesberger, who plays mostly on the European Tour.

Fowler, a runnerup in the past two majors and this year the first player since Tiger Woods to finish among the top five in all three of the previous majors, played bogey-free for 67 and was two shots behind. "I didn't get a whole lot out of the round on the back nine," he said, "but I played a lot of good golf. I'm looking forward to (today)."

Mickelson, a five-time major champion, turned his game around with a strong finish. When he looked to be fading from contention, he charged back in with a long birdie putt on 14 followed by two more birdies. He narrowly missed an eagle putt on the final hole. He had 67 and was three shots behind.

"That birdie putt on 14 was really the one that got me going, because I needed to finish strong to get back in it," said Mickelson, at 10 under with Jason Day, who played in the final group with McIlroy and shot 69.

For all the birdies, two early pars were important.

Day hooked his tee shot so badly on No. 2 that it cleared the stream and landed in a bog. The ball was found in knee-high vegetation. Day removed his shoes, rolled up his pant legs and waded across the stream to get to it. After caddie Colin Swatton tossed him a wedge across the water, Day blasted across the fairway into the rough, hit wedge onto the green to 8 feet and made par.

"I was too lazy to actually get my shoes thrown over," Day said. "I either hit it in my bare feet or put my shoes on and have to take my shoes off. I was like, 'We're going to be behind, way behind, so I may as well just hit it with no shoes on.' "

At the 292-yard par-4 fourth, McIlroy hooked his tee shot into the woods and had to take a penalty drop to get a clear look at the green. He made a 12-footer for par to stay in the lead, and he birdied the next hole.

Back and forth it went all day. Fowler, Day, Wiesberger, Ryan Palmer and Jim Furyk took turns joining McIlroy atop the leaderboard.

"I'll take a win any way it comes," McIlroy said.

PGA leaderboard

Rory McIlroy 66-67-67 200 -13

Bernd Wiesberger 68-68-65 201 -12

Rickie Fowler 69-66-67 202 -11

Phil Mickelson 69-67-67 203 -10

Jason Day 69-65-69 203 -10


Louis Oosthuizen 70-67-67 204 -9

Steve Stricker 69-68-68 205 -8

Adam Scott 71-69-66 206 -7

TV: 11 a.m., TNT; 2 p.m., Ch. 10

Weather: High 86, low 71; cloudy, humid, patchy fog in morning; 60 percent chance of rain

Rory McIlroy leads by 1 at PGA Championship 08/09/14 [Last modified: Saturday, August 9, 2014 10:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  2. State baseball: Unbeaten Calvary Christian makes it 29 straight wins, reaches final


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian is one game from season-long perfection. And its first state championship.

     Calvary Christian players celebrate their win after the FHSAA class 4A semi-final against American Heritage on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary defeated American Heritage 7 to 1. Calvary takes on Pensacola Catholic in the championship tomorrow night, at Hammond Stadium.
  3. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  4. Rays journal: Rookie Daniel Robertson takes pride in sparkling defense

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Rookie INF Daniel Robertson has earned raves for his defensive play at both second base and shortstop, making a highlight play almost every game he starts, including one in the fifth inning Friday.

  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    RF Steven Souza is always, shall we say, entertaining. In the second, he made an impressive running, leaping catch. In the seventh, he made either the worst dive for a ball a good 15 feet away or was trying for the best deke. In the eighth, he hit a massive homer.