Rory McIlroy leads weather-delayed US PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy takes a three-shot lead into the final round of the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island after carding a five-under 67 in a rain-delayed third round.

The Northern Irishman hit five birdies in eight holes before a thunderstorm prematurely ended Saturday's play.

Successive birdies on the 15th and 16th lifted him to seven under, ahead of Sweden's Carl Pettersson on four under.

Tiger Woods sank three birdies on Sunday morning to reach two under.

Woods had tumbled down the leaderboard on Saturday after carding three bogeys in just seven holes before his round was curtailed.

The former world number one resumed his third round with an eight-foot par putt on the eighth, which he missed to drop to level par for the tournament.

However, he rolled in birdies on the 11th, 13th and 16th to get to three under before dropping a shot on the short 17th after failing to get up and down from a bunker.

The mid-round break did not help Fiji's Vijay Singh, who had led with Woods on four under at halfway.

A couple of birdies had helped him move to six under and share the lead with McIlroy but he played the back nine in four over par to join Woods on two under.

By contrast, 2011 US Open winner McIlroy built on his tremendous start despite dropping a shot on the par-four 13th.

"It could have been better," said McIlroy, referring to missing two putts of three and five feet.

"I gave myself plenty of chances and the start was not what I wanted, but to play the last four in two under was nice.

"The conditions are great and I feel like I can score well. I'm in a great position going into the afternoon and I have a great chance to try and get a second major."

McIlroy's impressive front nine before play was suspended included a remarkable par save on the par-four third.

The world number three sensibly took a penalty drop after he drove his ball into a tree and then pitched to within seven feet of the hole before making the resulting putt.

Just three weeks on from his collapse at the Open, Australia's Adam Scott is four shots back. He shot a four-under 32 on the front nine but bogeys on the 11th and 16th dropped him into a share of third with South Africa's Trevor Immelman and America's Bo van Pelt.

Ian Poulter and David Lynn, whose only other appearance in a major was the 2003 Open, are the leading Englishmen on one under.

Lynn sank six birdies in his four-under-par 68, while Poulter ended with a two-over 74.

Fellow Brits Jamie Donaldson of Wales and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell are also tied for 10th on one under.

Three successive birdies midway through his back nine lifted McDowell to three under but double bogeys on the 13th and 18th proved costly.

"I have thrown seven or eight shots away on this course and that's frustrating," said the 2010 US Open winner.

"There is a low score out there and I'm hitting some quality shots but I'm also hitting some careless ones too."

The Republic of Ireland's Padraig Harrington is also among the bunch on one under. He sank four birdies on a flawless front nine but he gave two shots back with a double-bogey six on the 10th.

However, the three-times major winner chipped in from a bunker for a birdie two on the short 17th and just had time to par the last to finish with a three-under 69 before the sirens ended play on Saturday with 26 players out on the course.

Justin Rose had a mixed third round as the Englishman surged up the leaderboard before a disappointing run on the back nine saw him sign for a two-under-par 70 and a two over total.

Players will be grouped in threes and go off both the first and 10th tees in the fourth round.