LiveUS PGA: Day three - as it happened

Summary

  1. Leaders: -13 McIlroy; -12 Wiesberger; -11 Fowler; -10 Mickelson, Day
  2. -9 Oosthuizen, Ilonen, Stenson, Palmer
  3. -8 Donaldson, DeLaet, Stricker
  4. -7 Westwood, Chappell, Mahan, Scott, Furyk, Luiten

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Jurejko, Ben Dirs and Luke Reddy

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Leader reaction

Rory McIlroy on his round of 67: "It really was a gutsy performance. I felt like every time I made a birdie I made a bogey. But I'm really happy with how I finished again, it was really strong and it puts me in a great position.

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

Rickie Fowler, -11 and two off the lead: "That was a good, clean, solid Saturday. I had a good sense of the speed today on the greens and I felt in control of the swing. It'll be fun tomorrow."

Jay Townsend

Former European Tour golfer on BBC Radio 5 live

McIlroy is the class of the field. We've said several times this week he should win. If he plays well he should win. If he plays his best he should win by five or six.

Par-five form

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There are only three par fives on this Valhalla course and they will likely prove vital in deciding who lands the bounty.

Rory McIlroy is six under par for his nine attempts so far. Bern Wiesberger is level par for the par five drags and Rickie fowler is -7.

That was some day's golf - and tomorrow promises to be an absolute ripsnorter. There are 18 players within six shots of the lead, there will be bullets flying all over the place tomorrow until there is one man standing. McIlroy and Wiesberger will be the final group out, with Fowler and Mickelson up ahead of them. Europeans in the mix, other than the leading two, are Nordic pair Henrik Stenson and Mikko Ilonen (-9), Wales' Jamie Donaldson (-8) and England's Lee Westwood (-7).

Jay Townsend

Former European Tour golfer on BBC Radio 5 live

That was Tiger-esque from Rory. He didn't play that well and he's got a one-shot lead.

McIlroy birdies last for 67 and lead on -13

McIlroy to putt first - IN! That's the outright lead heading into the final day, courtesy of a round of 67. The Northern Irishman is one ahead of Austria's Bernd Wiesberger, with whom he'll play on Sunday. Day prods his birdie putt home, moves to -10 courtesy of a round of 69.

A breakthrough day?

Bernd Wiesberger reacts to his round of 65: "It's huge. I felt really well out there, really calm and I hit a great tee shot on the first which calmed the nerves. I'm really proud of how I put myself into this competition. I know I belong out there with the guys and can compete."

Wiesberger carded three successive birdies to close and finish on 12 under.

The most remarkable part about Wiesberger's performance so far this week is that his birdie at 18 today was his first on the par fives. Here's McIlroy from the sand and he's got a makeable birdie putt. Day's escape is a touch closer, both have six or seven footers for birdie...

Day finds the bunker front right with his second at 18, here's Rory... same again, but they've both got plenty of green to work with.

Here's Palmer with that saver and it's a doozy, the man from Amarillo is in with a 69 for nine under par and a tie for fifth. Furyk makes par at the last for a disappointing 72 and seven under overall, he got a bit creaky down the stretch.

It's all gone wrong for Ryan Palmer on 18 - he muffs his first chip from the fluff, meaning he's still got plenty of work to do to save par. Here he is again... races it seven feet past, got a knee-knocker for par....

Third time lucky for Wiesberger?

Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, with no major pedigree to speak of, has two second-place finishes in 2014 on the European Tour. Could Sunday at Valhalla be third time lucky this season?

The Austrian is level with Rory McIlroy on -12, with the Open champion on the par-five 18th.

Day and McIlroy don't mess about on the 18th tee, both high and mighty and straight...

Not a pleasant shot for Palmer, feet on the edge of a bunker, ball above the feet, and he sprays a hybrid right of the green. In case you were wondering what happened to Jim Furyk, he bogeyed 15 and 16 and is the only man not under par today out of the top 40-odd players. That said, he's still seven under.

Ilonen can only make five at the last but that's a 69 to go with a 67 and a 68 and the Finn is nine under. Day makes par at 17, stays nine under. McIlroy putting uphill, left to right, from about 25 feet. Leaves it a couple of feet left but stays joint leader on -12.

Fowler's longun on 18 comes up a couple of revolutions short but that's a birdie for a round of 67 and 11 under. Fowler is looking to make it four top-five finishes in the majors this season.

Day with 158 yards left at 17 and that's pretty ordinary from where he was. McIlroy is in sand out left but that's a peach of an escape, middle of the green.

Palmer chipping on at 17, leaves it five feet short... leaves his par putt a shade right, drops to -9. Fowler with his second on 18, ball below the feet... terrific effort, he's got a longun for eagle and a share of the lead...

Wiesberger (18) & McIlroy (16) lead on -12

Palmer overcooks his approach at 17, Wiesberger almost holes his chip at 18. He'll tap that in for a round of 65 and the joint lead, with McIlroy, on -12. That's also the joint best of the day with Hunter Mahan. Mickelson almost holed his monster but taps in for birdie for a round of 67 and 10 under.

Iain Carter

BBC Sport's golf correspondent at Valhalla

"The standard of the majors this year has been as good as any for a long time. There hasn't been a duff one all year."

Hard to disagree. The supremely talented Bubba Watson clinched a second Masters title in April, Martin Kaymer notched up his second major with a masterful display at the US Open in June and Rory McIlroy landed a first Open title last month in thrilling fashion.

McIlroy leads on -12

Mickelson hits a glorious hybrid into the 18th, he's got a monster uphill for eagle. Wiesberger with a poor swing but if he gets up and down from there, that's still a birdie. McIlroy pops in for birdie on 16, grabs the outright lead on 12 under.

Jay Townsend

Former European Tour golfer on BBC Radio 5 live

Bernd Wiesberger's not afraid to win I can tell you that. I saw him decimate the field in Korea.

The Austrian won his first European Tour title by five shots in 2012.

Wiesberger gets chocs away down the 18th, Mickelson pushes his drive right into the short rough. Fowler makes par at 17, he stays one off the lead, although that's about to be two. Day has plenty to do to make par after his third...

Palmer leaves his birdie putt left of the hole at 16 but taps in to stay one off the lead. Day has got 255 yards to go at 16 and he's going with an iron. Comes up short, maybe should have gone with the old hybrid. McIlroy is slap-bang in the middle of the fairway, he's only got a nine iron - you have to say that's magnificent, stiffs it to two feet. That for the outright lead...

Palmer into 16, from 190 yards, he's got a 12-footer for birdie. Ilonen with a blind second into 17 and that's not half bad, just a touch long. McIlroy slaps another beauty down the middle at 16, Day is in Robin Hood country... but gets a lucky bounce out...

Mickelson only makes par at 17 to stay nine under but he and Wiesberger have got eagle chances at 18 and should make birdies if they get their drives away.

Wiesberger & McIlroy lead on -11

DeLaet for birdie at 18 and he's missed that by the width of a fag paper, that's a round of 68 for the Canadian for eight under. Lordy, lordy, look at this from Wiesberger - he's stuck his second on 17 to within six inches of the hole and will nick the outright lead on 11 under... SCRATCH THAT! McIlroy joins him on 11 under with a 12-foot birdie putt at 15... Day misses his, stays -10...

Steve Stricker could be playing his way into Tom Watson's Ryder Cup team - currently a US vice-captain, he's birdied 16 to get to seven under par. Jason Day and McIlroy safely on in two at 15, chances for birdies and the outright lead...

G-Mac optimistic about Ryder Cup berth

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Graeme McDowell, Europe's Ryder Cup hero in 2010, says he has no doubts over his place on the team for Gleneagles next month.

"I want to be in the automatic spots if I can. I'll be out there all guns blazing tomorrow and Ryder Cup is of course very important to me," McDowell tells BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I'm not uncomfortable. I'm optimistic about the way I'm playing, I'm optimistic about finishing in the automatic spots and I'm optimistic about a pick. I hope to be there in some shape or form. I've showed the captain I'm playing well, so I'll keep some energy in the tank and hopefully get the call up."

McDowell is currently in the team via the world points list, though Luke Donald and Stephen Gallacher are hunting the Northern Irishman and Jamie Donaldson, currently the final two in the nine automatic places.

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England's Chris Wood tweets: Played better than -1 today. Course was a little wet! There's a score out there for me tomorrow...

Wood, from Bristol, is four under for the championship.

Ilonen playing into 16 and it comes up short and rolls away. Stenson up the hill for eagle at the last... drifts right but that's a round of 67 for -9 and a share of the clubhouse lead.

Wiesberger, Fowler, Palmer, McIlroy & Day lead on -10

EPA

Bernd Wiesberger has not been overawed by playing in the company of Mickelson today, he's just knocked in a birdie on 16 to make it a five-way tie for the lead. McIlroy saves par at 14, stays -10, as does Day. Water down the right on 15 and Day finds sand off the tee. McIlroy going with the big boy and that's a monster...

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PGA professional Graham Fox tweets: I thought golf was hard until I delivered my baby girl on the bathroom floor today all by myself. Claire was immense. I was sweating bullets.

Canada's Graham DeLaet has been flying under the radar all week but he's just birdied 16 to get to eight under. Mickelson makes that birdie at 16, he's now nine under, one off the lead and hurtling towards the clubhouse like a man on fire.

Mickelson has got things going on and here he is with a crackerjack approach at 16, chance for a third straight birdie. Westwood makes the most of a fine bunker shot at 18, popping in for birdie, a round of 69 and -7 overall. He's not out of this by any means.

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Ilonen on 15, 173 to the flag, safe as houses. Day on tee at the 204-yard 14th... all over the pin and 15 fete past. Fowler for birdie at 15, leaves it a touch left, stays -10. McIlroy struggling to hold this together at the moment, he's tugged his tee shot left at 14.

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John McEnerney: Turning out to be a cracker of a Major, Top players playing some top golf also making mistakes which is keeping it interesting!

The Pete: I'm trying to think of a sportsman and a phrase more associated than Lee Westwood and 'good putt, just missed'. Is there one?

Lee Cattermole, yellow card?

Fowler, Palmer, McIlroy & Day lead on -10

BBC

Day with a nice wedge into the 13th, another putting contest with McIlroy. As I write there are 31 players within five shots of the lead - if they're not too nasty with the pin positions tomorrow, any one of them could still win this. McIlroy misses that birdie putt, lips out, and he's in danger of being swallowed up down the back nine. Day makes his birdie putt to join a four-way tie for the lead, Stenson birdies 17 to get back to eight under.

Fowler for birdie on 14 and the outright lead... hits it too hard, stays 10 under. Ilonen with a chance to join the lead but his birdie putt on 14 stays a whisker left. McIlroy on tee at 12, going with iron. Nailed it. Palmer at the short 14th, right at the pin, right in the bunker. McIlroy at 13, leaves himself an eight-footer for birdie. Mickelson in with back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15, he's two off the lead.

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Westwood for a bird on 17, leaves it a couple of feet right. Ilonen on tee at the par-three 14th and that's spot-on, despite his flinch after he hit it.

McIlroy almost sinks his fourth but that's a shot gone and he drops back into a share of the lead with Fowler and Palmer. The not-so-wee man any more rams his putter into this bag and curses and hopes for better things on the 13th. Day makes par, stays -9.

Jason Day very nearly chips in at 12 but he's got a knee-knocker coming back for par. McIlroy has fluffed his effort, he's not in complete control at the moment...

Oosthuizen clubhouse leader, -9

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Rory on 12, from a similar spot to Day... tries to draw it round the trees but gets a flyer and overcooks it. Oosthuizen for eagle at 18, leaves himself a six-footer for birdie and a round of 66. Makes it, he has the clubhouse lead on nine under. Mickelson drains a longun on 14 to stop the bleeding and get back to -7...

McIlroy on the 12th tee and he's tugged another three wood. Day going with two iron and he's done the same. No great drama, but could have done without it. Ilonen on 13, right into the heart with a wedge. Here's Day with his second on 12, 207 yards off a down-slope, six iron... leaked it right, predictably...

Player reaction

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Wales' Jamie Donaldson, who carded a 66 to move within two shots of the lead at eight under, on Sky Sports: "On the 18th, my second shot out of the bunker gave me an eagle putt. I had about 240 yards to carry, I had to cut it and it came out perfectly.

"I misread the eagle putt, I didn't give it enough break. I putted well from long range but I missed a couple of short ones. But I had a good day and I played well."

Lovely chip from McIlroy, should save par from there. It's a five-footer and he sticks it straight down the pipe to stay one shot clear. Stenson nails a long-range bogey putt at 15 but drops to seven under. Par for Day on 11, he stays -9; Westwood drops to -6 after a bogey at 16.

Fowler leaves his 20-footer just right of the cup at 12, taps in for par to stay one behind McIlroy, who is in a spot of bother on 11. Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen has flown under the radar to within three of the lead, he's three under for his round through 17.

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Furyk for birdie at 11, leaves it short and stays two off the lead. Fowler with the ball below his feet at 12, sweeps it onto the dancefloor. Rory tugs his tee shot left of the green at 11, will need some smart up and down work to save par. Day safely into the heart...

McIlroy regains outright lead, -11

McIlroy makes a fine birdie at 10, his ball having a look before dropping in - he regains the outright lead on -11. Wiesberger birdies 12 to move to -9, Mickelson drops two in a row to drop to -6. Day can only make par, stays -9. Palmer joins a tie for second with a long birdie putt at 11...

McIlroy with his third at 10, leaves himself a makeable uphill putt for birdie. Day chipping from green-side fluff, that's cute as a button, six-footer for birdie. Palmer with his tee shot at 11 and he pushes it a touch right. Stenson rams home a par putt at 14 to stay -8.

Bubba Watson: "Thanks for holding me accountable for my actions."

Bubba Watson came in for criticism with his on-course swearing on Friday and although the Masters champion fared no better today with a 73, +2 overall and three shots off last place, the American was thankful for the harsh words.

The twice major winner on Twitter: "Thanks to everyone for holding me accountable for my actions, it's helping me to get better! #Thanks #Blessed."

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Day going with three wood into 10 and it comes up just short, should get up and down for birdie. McIlroy laying up instead, opting not to go with a long stick, has produced a few iffy shots from the fairway. First-round leader Kevin Chappell is going nowhere, he carded a blemish-free 67 today and is three off the lead.

Westwood firing over the water at 15, right into the guts of the green, birdie chance. Don't write Lee off. Ryan Palmer putting for birdie at 10... leaves it just left, stays -9. Fowler chipping at 11, decent enough, should make par. Ernie Els finishd with a 68, he's five under and in the mixer. Par for Furyk on 10, he stays nine under.

Westwood birdies 14 to get back to -7, this is turning into a right old smash-up, anyone in the top 20 could win this at the moment. Day and McIlroy tonk drives down the middle at 10, Mickelson lets a shot go at 11 to move to -7. Fowler on tee at 11, going with six iron... pushes it slightly, putting from the apron.

Swings and roundabouts

He started the day two clear and after thumping one into the drink on four, Rory McIlroy turns having seen his advantage eroded.

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He now shares the lead with Rickie Fowler.

I'm a golfer, get me out of here...

It has been a tricky nine holes for Australia's Jason Day...

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Two birdies and a bogey, not to mention a par via the very thick stuff with no shoes early in his round. Tied for second, one shot back.