Storms Suspend McIlroy’s Climb Up PGA Leaderboard
by Alex Urban | University of Georgia
At some point the weathermen had to get it right. Strong storms and wind caused a rain delay that eventually halted play for the day in the third round of the 2012 PGA Championship at the Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C.
The rain cooled off red-hot Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, who both shot 4-under 32 on the front nine, and provided respite for a struggling Tiger Woods, who was 3 over through his first seven holes and is faced with a testy par putt when play resumes tomorrow morning. Sunday will be a marathon day, with some players playing as many as 28 holes in an attempt to keep the action from spilling over into Monday.
Before the delay, scoring was much better on Saturday than it was on Friday. The scoring average during the second round was 78.11, which is the highest in the history of the PGA Championship, and only five players were able to break par. 17 players were able to shoot sub-par rounds on Saturday before the rain delay, and there were quite a few under par on the course.
One of those making a run on moving day was the 2011 U.S. Open champion, McIlroy. His day began with back-to-back birdies before he ran into some trouble on the third hole. In a bizarre scene, McIlroy couldn’t find his tee shot on the third hole, despite there being only one tree in the area. After several minutes and some help from the CBS television crew, the ball was found embedded in a limb of the tree.
“I looked up in the tree after the CBS guy told me it was in there and said, how can it be in this thing?” McIlroy said. “But making the up-and-down for four was very important to do, especially after birdieing the first two.”
McIlroy took an unplayable lie and made an unlikely up-and-down par from the fairway. He used that momentum to add three more birdies on the front nine before bogeying the 9th.
Scott, coming off his heartbreaking loss at the Open Championship where he bogeyed four holes in a row to blow a four-shot lead, also made an impressive run on the front nine. He birdied his final three holes on the outward nine before play was suspended.
Playing alongside Woods in the final group, Vijay Singh was able to play steady golf, making two birdies and now bogeys. He will begin play tomorrow tied for the lead with McIlroy.
Three players were able to shoot 5-under 67s before play was suspended. Among those that were able to accomplish that was Bo Van Pelt, who climbed into the top five.
“I’m obviously pleased,” Van Pelt said. “I felt like I left a couple out there on the back nine, but all in all I am really pleased.”
Another early 67 was fired by Steve Stricker, who was 3 over to start on Saturday. A major championship is the only thing missing from his otherwise strong career.
“It kind of gets me back in it,” Stricker said.
Woods, playing in the final group with Singh, was unable to capitalize on two early birdie chances and looked shaky in his 3-over start. No parts of his game looked sharp and he will likely be pleased by the stoppage in play.
“I got off to a rough start today and couldn’t get anything going,” Woods said. “I’ll come back tomorrow morning and see what happens. There are a lot of holes left to play.”
With so many players within five shots of the lead and 28 holes left for some players, Sunday is shaping up to be a finish to remember. Third round play will resume at 7:45 a.m., and the final round will be played in threesomes starting off of both tees at 11:45 a.m. The leaders are expected to tee off at 1:45 p.m.
Despite his great round being stopped, McIlroy still likes his position heading into Sunday.
“I’m going into the final day of the final major of the year tied for the lead. You can’t ask for much more than that,” he said.Alex Urban is a NGJ Voices Contributor and Public Relations Master's student at the University of Georgia. He graduated from Clemson University in 2011 and was the editor of Clemson's school paper's (The Tiger News) opinions section. He is interested in a wide range of topics from international relations to sports and pop culture.