Rory McIlroy makes Sunday charge again but Mito Pereira retains US PGA lead

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Rory McIlroy made a move through the field on the final day of the US PGA Championship (Matt York/AP) (AP)
Rory McIlroy made a move through the field on the final day of the US PGA Championship (Matt York/AP) (AP)

Rory McIlroy made a Sunday charge for the second successive major as the US PGA Championship headed for an exciting climax at Southern Hills.

McIlroy, who finished runner-up in the Masters thanks to a closing 64 at Augusta National, began the final round nine shots off the lead after following an opening 65 with disappointing rounds of 71 and 74.

That looked to have ended his chances of claiming a fifth major title and first since winning the 2014 US PGA, but McIlroy may have had other ideas and made a brilliant start with four birdies in a row from the second.

The par threes have been McIlroy’s undoing however – the 33-year-old playing them in five over par in round three even with a birdie on the 14th – and the sixth cost him another shot on Sunday after missing the green and hitting a poor chip to 20 feet.

Good birdie chances went begging on the ninth, 12th and 13th to leave McIlroy three under par and six shots off the lead held by Chile’s Mito Pereira, who had recovered from a bogey on the third with a birdie on the par-five fifth.

Pereira enjoyed a two-shot lead over American Will Zalatoris, who shared the lead after birdies on the fourth and fifth before dropping a shot on the sixth, where his tee shot flew over the green and into an unplayable lie, prompting a ruling on his penalty drop which took almost 15 minutes to resolve.

American Cameron Young was three shots off the pace, with England’s Matt Fitzpatrick another stroke back.

The 27-year-old from Sheffield pulled his opening drive left of the fairway and then got a flyer from the rough with his second shot to send his ball 25 yards over the green.

After taking a free drop away from the camera tower in front of his ball, Fitzpatrick pitched to 15 feet and was unable to hole the par putt.

Fitzpatrick, who has recorded just one top-10 finish in his 27 previous majors, steadied the ship with two pars before a superb approach to the fourth set up a tap-in birdie, but dropped a shot on the sixth after finding water off the tee.

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