Rory McIlroy (7-under) has a three-stroke lead with a chance to become the third youngest player in history to win two majors. Vijay Singh (2-under), six months shy of eligibility for the Champions Tour, has a chance to become the oldest major champion in history.
Also in the chase are Adam Scott (3-under), Tiger Woods (2-under) and Steve Stricker (2-under). It all adds up to intrigue in the final round of the PGA, after players wrapped up the rain-delayed third round on Sunday morning at Kiawah Island.
Woods will tee off in the final round at 1:23 with Peter Hanson (2-under) and Singh. Scott, Stricker, and Trevor Immelman (3-under) go off at 1:34, while McIlroy begins at 1:45 with a pair of players seeking their first major, Carl Pettersson (4-under) and Bo Van Pelt (3-under).
Holding leads has not been the trend this year on the PGA Tour. Third-round leaders have won only 11 of 34 times. None of the third-round leaders in majors has sealed the deal. Eleven of the winners have come from four or more shots back. McIlroy was one who bucked the trend, winning in March at PGA National after leading through three rounds.
Early this week, McIlroy addressed the trend: “For three days, you’re just playing golf and you’re not really thinking about the result,” he said. “You’re just trying to get yourself into that position and when you get yourself into that position, that’s when the pressure comes and when you have to finish it off.”
McIlroy felt that pressure at the 2011 Masters, blowing the lead on the back nine. He rebounded in the next major, however, running away from the field at the U.S. Open at Congressional.
“Coming down the stretch, it is your tournament to win if you have a lead, but it’s also your tournament to lose,” McIlroy said. “So obviously you want to approach it the first way and go and say, ‘This is my tournament. I’m in front;.I’m going to stamp my authority here and I’m going to go ahead and win.’ But it’s hard. You know, it’s hard to win. It’s hard to hold onto leads.”
After blowing the lead with a bogey-bogey-bogey-bogey finish at the British Open, Scott looks to rebound in fashion similar to McIlroy, and capture his first major.
“I’ve generally been a good closer of golf tournaments in my career,” Scott said. “If I was in that position, I’d like to turn it around this time and close the golf tournament out.”
Scott isn’t in that position Sunday at Kiawah. But at four shots back, he might have the optimal mind-set.