PGA delicately poised when play called
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2012 US PGA Championship | Round Three | 12 Aug 2012
Play has been suspended for the day at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, a storm which rolled in around 5.00pm clearing the golf course with the final pairing of Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh playing the 8th hole when the sirens sounded.
Players will return to the course at 7.45am on Sunday morning with the final round scheduled to begin at 11.44. The groupings for the final round will be played in threesomes with split tees being used to increase the possibility of all 72 holes being completed on schedule.
When play was called, Rory McIlroy and joint 36 hole leader Vijay Singh had the lead at 6 under, one ahead of Adam Scott and two ahead of another of the three 36 hole leaders Carl Pettersson.
In conditions that were in stark contrast to those which the field battled on day two, a much gentler breeze and more friendly flag positions ensured scoring would improve sharply.
There were many big moves from those back in the field, the rounds of 67 by Bo Van Pelt, Steve Stricker and Jimmy Walker seeing all three move to the edge of contention and in the case of Van Pelt within striking distance of the lead.
All three players had the good fortune to finish their rounds before the storm struck so they are in the invidious position of not having to worry about arising early to complete their third rounds on Sunday.
It became clear therefore that in order to progress it would be a case of moving forward rather than waiting for the leaders to come backwards and of those out later in the day two in particualr would do just that.
Adam Scott, who has a great chance for redemption after his late demise at the Open Championship, has made a significant statement with four birdies in his last five holes oh his opening nine holes and at 5 under he stands just one behind the lead.
Scott’s final birdie of the day was from 40 feet or so at the 9th and as he plays the 10th hole early on Sunday morning he is right on the tail of the two leaders.
McIlroy began the day with a rush with birdies at the first and second but at the third his ball got stuck in a tree. He was forced to take a penalty drop but hit a fine third to 7 feet and holed for par to keep the momentum going.
McIlroy added three more birdies to establish an outright lead before a bogey at the 9th had him sharing the lead with Singh when play was halted for the day.
“Yeah, you know, it was a great start, the start that I was looking to get off to,” said McIlroy. "I saw that a few guys early in the day got off to good starts and I wanted to try to do that, too.
To be 4‑under through nine is great position to be in, and you know, the conditions out there today were obviously a lot better than they were yesterday.
“Some of the pin positions were a bit easier. They moved the tees up a little bit, and the wind wasn’t as strong. So I think those three things combined is why you saw the scores being a little bit better today.”
“You know, the way I’m looking at it, I’m going into the final day of the final major of the season tied for the lead, so I mean, I can’t ask for much more. So, you know, I don’t care if it’s going to be 27 holes, 18 holes, 36 holes; I’m just happy to be going in there in a good position.
“Physically, it’s a big golf course. You know, playing 27 out there, it’s going to take its toll, especially at the end of the week. So just conserve my energy, get an early night to night and make sure I’m rested and ready to go for tomorrow morning.”
Singh birdied the very first hole today to break clear of the pack and although passed by McIlroy when he birdied the 8th from 40 feet, he had regained a share of the lead he enjoyed earlier.
Singh’s playing partner and one of three joint second round leader, Tiger Woods, would go the other way however. Memories of his third round battles when leading at the US Open began to emerge as he bogeyed the 4th, 5th and 7th saw him slip back to a share of 11th position and when he returns to the golf course tomorrow he faces an eight foot right to left to avoid dropping another.
Clearly Woods is not yet out of it but he now has a host of quality players ahead of him and will need a strong back nine tomorrow morning and one of his trademark final rounds if he is to earn his 15th major championship.
A bogey at the 3rd and a birdie at the 5th has Pettersson at 4 under and two behind the lead he had shared starting the day.
Aaron Baddeley is tied with Woods and others at 1 under and in a share of 11th position while Geoff Ogilvy is at even par and 19th and Marc Leishman 21st.
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