By Jason Fernandes
- British number two Justin Rose finds himself third heading in to the final day
- The Englishman is currently three shots behind leader Jason Day
- Rory McIlroy is nine behind at -6.
If you missed the action of Round three at the PGA Championship you missed out on a lot! In fact it was so good commentators were saying it was ‘the highest quality golf they had ever seen’. There was everything from insane birdie putts, amazing saves and stunning rounds altogether from certain individuals.
From a British standpoint we could very well have another winner but perhaps surprisingly it won’t be Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman started his third round brilliantly going 4 under par in his first five holes, including an eagle. Unfortunately he could not keep the momentum going.
Despite going two over for the next 10 holes with some poor misses, the world number one finished strongly with birdies at the 16th and 18th. McIlroy finished the penultimate round at -6 for the tournament, nine behind the leader. There is not much hope for retaining the title, but there’s no doubt with each and every round McIlroy is looking closer to his best again.
“I got off to a dream start, really,” McIlroy told SkySports, “To be four under through five, having not birdied the first and third, was a bonus.
“I knew six was a chance and the way the wind was on seven and eight, they weren’t playing as tough as they had been earlier in the week. If you get a good tee shot down on nine, you’ve got a wedge in your hand there and all of a sudden you’re thinking about shooting 30 on the front nine and then you’ve got some chances on the back nine.
“But to give those shots away again on six and eight, you really have to battle to shoot four under in the end. I guess that probably shows just a lack of competitiveness considering this is the first week back in a few weeks.
“But really positive signs out there. Hitting the ball great. I putted much better today thankfully. So if I keep showing improvement each and every day like I have done, it’s a good sign going into the rest of the season.”
In fact it is the British number two who is going in with a chance of taking the title home on Sunday. Despite missing a very short putt for eagle as well as making several other uncharacteristic errors, Justin Rose finds himself in tied for third position going into the final round just three behind the lead. The Englishman will need to thrive on every inch of experience he gained en route to winning the US Open in 2013 and use that to his advantage if he wants to win his second major.
Jason Day is the leader at -15. Having been so close to winning majors in the past- perhaps most noticeably just being one off a playoff at St Andrews last month- the Australian has come back stronger than ever and has put himself in yet another strong position. He put together an amazing round of 66 in R3 while hitting two bogeys and a double bogey.It was altogether some of the finest most attacking golf played at this year’s championship. If the world number five can continue playing like he has all tournament, it is hard not to think that Sunday will be Jason’s day.
The Aussie’s playing partner is no one else than 2015 Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth. Seeking to become the first man ever to win all there majors in the USA in the same year, there will no doubt be a lot of pressure on the 22 year old’s shoulders, but nothing he should not be able to handle.
Having put in an incredible six under on the back nine in the last round after a mediocre front nine, the American has kept himself in contention just when it looked like the rest of the pack were getting away from him. If Spieth is going to win his third major he has to perform on both the front and back nine, something he has struggled to do all tournament thus far.
“On the back nine it was nice to get in the zone,” Spieth said to Sky Sports, who is in a good position to claim the world number one ranking over McIlroy on Monday. “The holes that I didn’t birdie on the back nine, 10 I just barely missed, 14 I was short in the heart.
“And then 15 was a great two-putt. So, yeah, I’m very, very pleased to have a chance to win another major.”
Behind them come a whole range of names within just a few shots. Branden Grace and Martin Kaymer, champion of 2010 here, paired together and put in a combined score of -15 in round three. Both will no doubt fancy their chances on the final day and will be hoping they can repeat their flawless rounds.
Overall it’s too hard to call a winner but there’s no doubt whoever takes home the title will be very deserving of it. Day will start with the lead but Spieth will be the one with the experience. Who’s not to say that Grace or Dustin Johnson won’t make up the deficit and win their first major, or even that Rose or Kaymer will win their second. All will be revealed in the final round of the 2015 PGA Championship.
You can follow all the action on the final day at Whistling Straights via the Britwatch livescoring service: Live Scores