RORY McIlroy’s great drought is set to stretch into eight years after a late comeback from disaster was halted by a finishing bogey and he carded a four-over-74 to nine shots behind Chilean Mito Pereira en route to the Finals of the US PGA Championship to be a chilly and blustery Southern Hills.
s Séamus Power stormed into the competition with a three-under 67 to finish sixth solo, six shots down on three-pointers as McIlroy again struggled in difficult conditions in a Major.
The Holywood star was five behind Will Zatoris overnight but needed a quick start, going backwards and running up a double bogey after a visit to the water on the sixth par-3 before hitting another drop shot on the seventh with one Three-putt bogey followed. The eighth.
He screwed the short par-4 ninth but ran on the 168-yard 11. up a disastrous triple-bogey-6 when he failed to make it out of the dip to the left of the green on the first try and made three putts from 10 feet.
He was ten shots behind Pereira at this point and outside the top 20 by a two-over.
But while collecting and shagging the par-5 13th, then his drive shot on the 223-yard-14. sewed before making a 25-foot shot on the 16th, he approached nearly 60 feet to the right of the flag on the 18th and made a three-putt, tapping his approach putt 11 feet past before exiting the course without comment.
Still looking for his first win on the PGA Tour, Pereira (27) most recently slashed a 69 with a 27-foot goal and a three-shot lead over England’s Matt Fitzpatrick and Zatoris, who are rounds of 67 and 73, respectively shot.
Irish eyes will be on Power after he shot four birdies for a 67 with six back in his last eight holes.
The West Waterford star (35) finished tied 23rd on Level Par overnight, nine strokes behind Zatoris before following a Level Par front nine with a sensational 32 home run.
Playing in only his second major after finishing 27th in his Masters debut, the world No. 42 bogeyed the third but shagged the 373-yard fourth before taking another shot for par -5 received.
After observing a 40-foot stop on the lip on the seventh, he missed five feet for par on the eighth to turn into level par and dropped another shot at the 168-yard-11 when he was in the Descent ended to the left of the green.
But he showed his class on the course by reeling off four birdies in five holes.
After firing wedges at eight feet on the par-5 12th and four feet on the 13th, he fired a 157-yard approach at six feet on the 15th and tapped in the putt to get into the top 10.
Then he nearly holed for albatross with three woods at 296-yard-17. one before hitting eight feet and smashing in the putt.
“It was a fun round,” said Power. “It was a bit frustrating there around the turn. I bogeyed 11 and then I actually hit it in the rough to 12, but I guessed right coming out of the rough and it got close.
“And that really spun me in the right direction, and I made some nice putts coming down the course.”
He added: “Everything is feeling pretty good, I’m rolling it well and I’m riding it well, so hopefully there’s a lot of exciting opportunities tomorrow.”
The Tooraneena man has only played seven rounds in Majors but when asked about his excitement ahead of the final day of competition, he said: “That’s why you train.
“So going back to playing at West Waterford you practice crappy conditions and when things go bad you fight your way to get to those kinds of spots and see all the work pay off.”
Like Power, Shane Lowry came from the hard side of the draw, but he made two birdies and three bogeys in a one-over 71 to share 36th place in a three-over.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/golf/more-major-woes-for-rory-mcilroy-as-seamus-power-leads-irish-charge-at-pga-championship-41675570.html More big troubles for Rory McIlroy as Seamus Power leads Ireland to PGA Championship lead