Rory McIlroy began the third round nine strokes off the PGA Championship lead, but after a strong close to his round and some early struggles from the leaders, McIlroy is right in the thick of things heading into Sunday.
Oak Hill is proving to be a much tougher challenge on Saturday and McIlroy was one of the few players able to post a score in the 60s. A birdie at No. 6 moved him into the red and he remained 1-under heading into the final two holes. Oak Hill's closing holes have gotten the better of most of the field this week, playing as the two hardest holes on the course.
McIlroy struggled on the closing stretch during the first two rounds, playing No. 17 and No. 18 at 3-over. It was a different story today as he drilled a long birdie putt on the 17th.
That birdie moved him to 2-under and a par on the 18th would have him on the fringe of contention heading into Sunday. McIlroy needed to get up and down from the rough for par, after hitting his approach shot long. He didn't settle for par though, holing the long, breaking chip for back-to-back birdies.
The strong close jumped McIlroy into a tie for eighth place and he may move up even further with how much the final groups are struggling. Rory is now just four strokes off the lead. Of the players ahead of him, only one is under par on the round as a combination of wind and firming greens have given the afternoon groups fits early on. McIlroy is very apparent of what's happening at the top of the leaderboard.
How aware was @McIlroyRory of guys backing up around him? "Very aware," he said. "I'm going to enjoy watching this afternoon."— Sam Weinman (@samweinman) August 10, 2013
Here is a closer look at his third round: