14 Sep 2014

McIlroy in contention in PGA Championship

11:28 am on 14 September 2014

Rory McIlroy spectacularly eagled the par-five 15th to join Billy Horschel in a tie for the lead after the third round of the Tour Championship in Georgia to set up a thrilling conclusion to the PGA Tour season.

East Lake golf club, Atlanta

East Lake golf club, Atlanta Photo: PHOTOSPORT

With the FedExCup playoff title and a bonus jackpot of 10 million US dollars on the line, world number one McIlroy sank a 26-foot putt to draw level at the top, then parred the last three holes to card a three-under-par 67.

That left the Northern Irishman at nine-under 201 in the fourth and final playoff event, level with his American playing partner Horschel, who had been three ahead at the turn before losing momentum over the closing stretch on the way to a 69.

McIlroy says he hasn't played his best golf by any stretch this week, but he's just sort of grinding out scores and trying to keep himself at the top of the leaderboard.

McIlroy has already enjoyed a superb 2014 campaign, clinching two major titles among four wins worldwide, and has set his sights on claiming the FedExCup crown for the first time after a season-long race.

Veteran American Jim Furyk, who has not triumphed on the PGA Tour since his 2010 victory at the Tour Championship, was alone in third at seven under after firing a four-birdie 67.

English world number five Justin Rose (66), American young gun Rickie Fowler (67) and Australian Jason Day (70) were a further stroke back on a high-quality leaderboard after charging into contention on what is traditionally known as 'Moving Day'.

Any of the top five in the points standings would clinch the FedExCup by winning the Tour Championship, a group that comprises top-ranked Chris Kirk, Horschel (second), Bubba Watson (third), McIlroy (fourth) and Hunter Mahan (fifth).