McIlroy sets the pace at Kiawah

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Updated: August 12, 2012

 

The threat of lightning cut short Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championship but not before Rory McIlroy had electrified the crowds and Tiger Woods slid backwards under a darkening sky.

Northern Irishman McIlroy, who had not contended for a major title since he won his first at last year’s US Open, dazzled with a stunning run of five birdies in his first eight holes to briefly lead by two shots at seven under par.

Though he bogeyed the ninth to end the day level at the top with Fijian Vijay Singh, the mop-haired 23-year-old was in a prime position to push on for victory when the play resumes at Kiawah Island Golf Resort on Sunday.

McIlroy, long regarded as heir apparent to Woods as the game’s leading player, will have to play 27 gruelling holes on Sunday but he oozed confidence when he spoke to reporters after played was called off on Saturday.

Woods, however, was far from happy with his own position after once again squandering a golden opportunity to tighten his grip on a 15th major title.

Two months ago at the US Open in San Francisco, he shared the lead going into the third round but faded over the weekend with closing scores of 75 and 73.

For the first two days at Kiawah Island, he seemed to be the Tiger of old with his game in prime form as he opened with scores of 69 and 71 to share the 36-hole lead with Singh and Swede Carl Pettersson.