Justin Rose And Rory McIlroy After the rain-soaked third round of the 105th USA PGA Championship, they face an uphill battle to end their protracted major drought.
Ten years after winning the US Open at Merion, Rose finished her third round of 69 at Oak Hill with a card, four strokes behind the leader, and two-under-par. Brooks Koepka.
McIlroy, who won his last of his major titles at next year’s venue Valhalla at the 2014 US PGA, fired 69 shots to beat his four-time big winner Koepka by five points, after 66 shots for the second consecutive year.
Canadian Corey Conners led seven under equals after recording two birdies and 13 pars in his first 15 holes, only to find the sand on the tee on the 16th and then take his second hit in the bunker’s face.
This led to a double bogey six, and Viktor Hovland took a field goal on the 18th to finish under five, with Koepka enjoying a 54-hole lead for the second consecutive major.
Koepka felt he was “strangling” the Masters as he was four ahead of the eventual winner last month Jon Rahm when play is suspended in the third round due to bad weather.
However, that lead was immediately cut in half when the game restarted, with Koepka returning to Augusta National, missing a seventh-place even hit, and game partner Rahm smashing the same hole together.
Koepka is still leading by two shots after three rounds, but he’s finished 75 to Rahm’s 69.
Bryson DeChambeauPlaying with Koepka at Oak Hill on Saturday and booing a round on the first inning, he was three shots behind with a score of 70.
McIlroy followed two early birds with three bogeys on four holes from the sixth, but 33 innings rallied to protect the rear nine to keep Koepka in sight.
The 34-year-old has struggled with his long game all week and also revealed on Thursday that he is battling an unspecified illness.
“Obviously, I’d like to be a few shots closer to the lead,” said world third.
“But judging from how I’ve been feeling this week, if you told me on Thursday night that I’d be in the top five on Sunday and I’d play with a realistic chance of winning this golf tournament, I would have agreed.”
Club pro Michael Block, 46-year-old head pro of Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in California, continued to have a great week, leveling 70 for the third time in a row.
Tommy Fleetwood is one shot behind after the third round of 68 and will hope to recall memories of his last round, which equaled a record 63 at the 2018 US Open, as he attempted to claim his first major title.
When asked by the PA news agency if 63 was possible in Oak Hill, Fleetwood said with a smile, “It would be the lowest lap of the day if someone did.”
“Who knows? I didn’t think it was at Shinnecock, but it did, and frankly, it’s something that happens very rarely.
“But I think you have to go out and shoot and play well and see what score you can get. I played really well in tough conditions today and I actually gave myself a lot of chances in the front nine.
“You saw guys come down in the back nine yesterday. Any golf course, if things go well and you get a few hits, you’re in luck.
“We’ll see what Sunday brings, but it’s always nice to have good memories of being able to get an important Sunday low in your memory bank, and who knows? Start hot and we’ll see.”
World number two Scottie Scheffler will start the final round four shots ahead after battling until 73 on Saturday.