Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Rory McIlroy battles to hold on to day three PGA Championship lead

updated 7:53 PM EDT, Sat August 9, 2014
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the sixth hole during the third round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the sixth hole during the third round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.
  • Rory McIlroy takes slim lead into final day of PGA Championship
  • British Open winner holds one shot advantage over Austria's Bernd Wiesberger
  • Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson all in chasing pack

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy held his nerve to maintain the lead on day three of the PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky and will take a slender one shot cushion into Sunday's final round.

The Northern Irishman, who is attempting to win his third straight tournament and second major of 2014, carded a round of 67 Saturday to leave him on 13-under-par for the week.

Austria's Bernd Wiesberger is a shot back at 12-under-par followed by Rickie Fowler on 11-under.

Phil Mickelson finished the day at 10-under-par alongside Jason Day while Louis Oosthuizen, Henrik Stenson, Ryan Palmer and Miko Ilonen are tied for fifth position at nine-under-par.

Tiger Woods misses cut at 2014 PGA
PGA: Rory roars, Tiger crashes out
How to fix golf's popularity problem
The heartland of golf

"I'm really happy with how I finished again," McIlroy told Sky Sports upon reaching the clubhouse. "I finished really strongly which puts me in good position for tomorrow."

McIlroy won the British Open in July and reclaimed the world No. 1 spot last week when he picked up the WGC Bridgestone Invitational title.

And his big-hitting game seemed made for the tender greens in Louisville that had been softened by early morning rain.

But the day was not without its challenges and McIlroy had to dig deep to fend off the chasing field.

The 25-year-old saved par on the fourth after teeing off into the hazard before carding birdies on holes five and seven.

He bogeyed eight and then once again showed guile to par the ninth when he overshot the green. A birdie on ten was then followed by a bogey on 12 and another difficult par save on 13.

At this stage Day, Fowler and Palmer had clawed McIlroy back to tie for the lead at 10-under-par.

Read: Tiger's Ryder Cup struggles

But the Rory McIlroy of the last month has been nothing if not resilient.

He spoke Friday about how golf has become his life since splitting from fiance Caroline Wozniacki in May. And when the pressure was on here in Kentucky, he excelled.

A birdie on 15 was followed by a miraculous approach shot on 16 that dropped two feet from the hole.

Three birdies from Wiesberger on the final three holes, however, brought the Austrian level atop the leaderboard.

But McIlroy added one last birdie of his own on 18 to secure the overnight lead.

"I knew there were guys ahead of me making birdies and it gives me a lot of confidence knowing that if I get challenged and people put the pressure on I am able to respond like I did today," McIlroy said.

"If I can keep playing well and staying mentally strong, there is another major to maybe come my way."

By comparison, Wiesberger will be aiming for his first ever major win when he heads out Sunday.

The 28-year-old is ranked 70 in the world and had only ever made the cut once in five previous majors.

"I played beautifully today, I didn't miss a lot of shots, set up a few nice opportunities on the last few holes especially. I'm very proud of myself the way I played," Wiesberger said in quotes carried by UK news agency, the Press Association.

"It's a completely new situation for me, only my second cut in a major in six attempts, so I am quite a rookie in this particularly situation. I have driven it really nicely this week and if I can do it again it will settle down the nerves and I am going to have fun tomorrow."

Elsewhere on the course, former world No. 1 Adam Scott scored a fine 66 to leave him tied at seven-under par with Lee Westwood, Hunter Mahan, Kevin Chappell and Jim Furyk.

Wales' Jamie Donaldson is a shot ahead at 8-under-par after scoring an impressive 66 alongside Graham DeLaet and Steve Stricker.

At the other end of the leaderboard, Bubba Watson's frustrating form continued as he scored a disappointing round of 73 leaving him two-over-par for the tournament.

Read: 18 of the most amazing golf shots ever!

Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
It's a big dilemma: Be with your wife for the birth of your first child, or stay at work and try to earn $11 million. For Billy Horschel, it's a no-brainer.
updated 7:40 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
She's just 19 but Hyo Joo Kim is already showing she's ready for the big time after recording the lowest ever round at a major championship.
updated 1:06 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Masters champion Bubba Watson says winning the $10 million FedEx Cup jackpot would bring forward his retirement from the game.
updated 7:31 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 15: A view of the 14th green during the third round of The Evian Championship at the Evian Resort Golf Club on September 15, 2013 in Evian-les-Bains, France. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
The world's top women golfers will be chasing a $3.25 million prize purse at one of the most stunning courses on the LPGA Tour.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
Tom Watson selects Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson as his wildcard picks for the Ryder Cup contest with Europe.
updated 9:52 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
Ian Poulter kept Europe clinging on in their Ryder Cup battle with the United States in Chicago.
Ian Poulter, who has constantly haunted the U.S. in Ryder Cup golf, is back after being chosen as a wildcard by European captain Paul McGinley.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Tiger Woods has split with his longtime coach Sean Foley after not winning a major during their four-year tenure.
updated 7:05 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Success just keeps on coming for Rory McIlroy, but the world No. 1 is already targeting more titles following his second PGA Championship win.
updated 10:24 AM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
updated 9:20 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
updated 8:27 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.