US PGA Championship: Sky Sports rounds up the big headlines from Valhalla
Last Updated: 10/08/14 11:48am
Rory McIlroy faces a shootout in Sunday's final round of the PGA Championship with no margin for error after grabbing a one-stroke lead over Bernd Wiesberger at rain-soaked Valhalla.
The world No 1 from Northern Ireland birdied three of the last four holes to fire a third-round 67 as he looks to win back-to-back majors, but has the Austrian breathing down his neck with 12 under-par, followed by Rickie Fowler a further stroke back.
Also, still very much in the picture are Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Henrik Stenson and Louis Oosthuizen as the main contenders jostle for position following a pulsating round of golf.
If he were to win, the 25-year-old 'Boy Wonder' McIlroy would become the fourth youngest player to win a fourth career major after Young Tom Morris, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
Rory finds extra gear
McIlroy admitted that he had a difficult day despite carding a round of 67 on day three although he found an extra gear, closing with three birdies on the last four holes for a four-under 67 and a one-shot lead over Wiesberger. McIlroy has won all three of his majors with the lead going into the final round by eight shots at the 2011 US Open, three shots at the 2012 PGA Championship, six shots last month at The Open. He rallied to win a World Golf Championship just a week ago which means he is going after a third straight victory from a familiar position - in the lead.
"I'll take a win any way it comes," McIlroy said. "If that means having to scrap it out with a couple people coming down the stretch, of if I can give myself some sort of lead going down the back nine ... I don't think it would give me extra satisfaction winning by one or two or scrapping it out." He could become the first person since Ireland's Padraig Harrington in 2008 to capture two majors in a row and two in the same year if he wins.
Bernd Wiesberger, who only made the cut at a major once before the 2013 US Open in five tries, including twice previously at the PGA is just behind McIlroy. He could have been excused for losing his nerve and feeling a little star-struck playing with golfing idol Phil Mickelson. But the 28-year-old Austrian surprised even himself as he stayed remarkably calm at Valhalla Golf Club and outscored his illustrious playing partner by two shots in the third round to charge into contention for the year's final major.
He racked up six birdies in ideal scoring conditions on a wet and receptive layout to match the lowest score of the week, six-under-par 65 lifted him into second place, one shot behind tournament leader McIlroy. "I know what I'm capable of doing," said Wiesberger after finishing with a spectacular flourish, birdies on his last three holes that left him at 12-under par. "I know if I drive the ball well and don't get ahead of myself, I can play good golf."
Fowler in contention
American 'young gun' Fowler, a top-five finisher at each of the year's previous three majors, also stayed in the frame after firing a round of 67 11-under par. Fowler, a runner-up at the US Open and The Open, shared fifth at the Masters, and could be the first player since Tiger Woods in 2005 to post top-five finishes in all four majors in a single year. He birdied all three par-5s, nearly eagling the final one, the 18th, missing a 39-foot putt by an inch but is brimming with a new-found confidence.
"I would say that leaderboard is the most jam-packed it's been, maybe since the start of the final round at the Masters," said the 25-year-old. "Obviously with (Martin) Kaymer, he ran away with the US Open and Rory put himself out in front and was very much in control of that golf tournament."
Mickelson & Day just behind
Right behind Fowler is 44-year-old Phil Mickelson and Australian Jason Day. The 2005 PGA Championship winner Mickelson played with Wiesberger in the third round and vaulted into contention for a sixth career victory in the majors with four birdies in the last five holes to reach 10-under, where he was joined by 26-year-old Day in a tie for fourth. In all, 18 players are within six shots of each other at the top of the leaderboard heading into Sunday's final round.
Left-hander Mickelson said: "It's so fun for me to be back in the thick of it, have a chance, being in contention heading into Sunday," said the American. "My game feels so close to clicking. And when I say clicking, shooting really low." Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa (67) and Swedish world No 4 Henrik Stenson (67) were among a group of four at nine under on a high-quality leaderboard that sets up an intriguing battle for the title.
Watch live coverage of the final round of the US PGA Championship at Valhalla from 4pm on Sky Sports 4 on Sunday.