Birthday boy Rory McIlroy just two off lead at Wells Fargo

Two-time champion cards 68 with Séamus Power also in top 10 going into final round

Rory McIlroy celebrated his 30th birthday with a three-under-par 68 in the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship on Saturday to move within two shots of the leaders at the weather-hit event in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A bogey by Max Homa (70) at the last left him tied at the top on 11-under 202 alongside fellow Americans Jason Dufner (71) and Joel Dahmen (70), while Pat Perez carded a 66 to move up to 10 under.

McIlroy, who could have had an even better day had his putting been dialled in, put together four birdies against a bogey to move to nine under as fans offered up birthday greetings on the stormy day.

“It’s awesome. I’m really grateful,” McIlroy said of the greetings. “I really felt the love out there. Celebrate another decade of my life and I get to do it on one of my favourite golf courses in the world, it’s pretty cool.”

Homa, a former US collegiate champion seeking his first PGA Tour victory, led most of the day until he stumbled at the par-four 18th hole.

Justin Rose (68) is in sixth spot on eight under, while Séamus Power continued his fine season as a round of two-under 69 saw the Waterford man move to seven under and a share of seventh position with England's Paul Casey, who carded a 66.

Defending champion Jason Day shot a three-over 74 to tumble to nine shots back.

SCOREBOARD
(USA unless stated, par 71):

202 Joel Dahmen (USA) 66 66 70, Max Homa (USA) 69 63 70, Jason Dufner (USA) 68 63 71

203 Pat Perez (USA) 69 68 66

204 Rory McIlroy (N Irl) 66 70 68

205 Justin Rose (Eng) 70 67 68

206 Paul Casey (Eng) 69 71 66, Séamus Power (Irl) 69 68 69

207 Doc Redman (USA) 70 70 67, Vaughn Taylor (USA) 68 71 68, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 69 73 65, Rickie Fowler (USA) 71 70 66, Patrick Reed (USA) 67 69 71

208 Adam Schenk (USA) 67 74 67, Aaron Wise (USA) 69 70 69, Colt Knost (USA) 73 68 67, Keith Mitchell (USA) 68 74 66, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 72 67 69

209 Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 76 66 67, Kyle Stanley (USA) 69 69 71, Martin Laird (Sco) 67 71 71

210 Jim Knous (USA) 68 72 70, John Senden (Aus) 68 73 69, Nate Lashley (USA) 71 70 69, Adam Hadwin (Can) 73 69 68, Sungjae Im (Kor) 70 69 71, Kevin Streelman (USA) 71 69 70

211 Jason Day (Aus) 68 69 74, Bud Cauley (USA) 73 70 68, Shawn Stefani (USA) 76 65 70, Lucas Glover (USA) 70 69 72, Cody Gribble (USA) 71 72 68, Chez Reavie (USA) 70 71 70, Webb Simpson (USA) 69 73 69, Ollie Schniederjans (USA) 74 69 68, Brendon Todd (USA) 68 70 73, Ryan Blaum (USA) 71 72 68, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 68 70 73, Brice Garnett (USA) 70 71 70, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 67 74 70, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 74 67 70

212 Matt Jones (Aus) 70 70 72, Kyoung-hoon Lee (Kor) 72 70 70, Brian Harman (USA) 68 75 69, Chase Wright (USA) 71 72 69, Alex Prugh (USA) 73 68 71, Richy Werenski (USA) 70 69 73, Daniel Berger (USA) 73 69 70, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 73 70 69, Bill Haas (USA) 69 72 71

213 Kramer Hickok (USA) 72 69 72, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 73 70 70, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 72 70 71, Roberto Diaz (Mex) 70 72 71, Julian Etulain (Arg) 73 70 70, Tony Finau (USA) 72 69 72, Jimmy Walker (USA) 71 70 72, Brandon Harkins (USA) 73 69 71

214 Nick Watney (USA) 70 72 72, Luke List (USA) 75 68 71, Jason Kokrak (USA) 70 70 74, Harris English (USA) 71 71 72, Trey Mullinax (USA) 72 69 73, J.J. Henry (USA) 70 72 72, Adam Long (USA) 70 71 73, Nick Taylor (Can) 67 75 72

215 Wes Roach (USA) 70 71 74, Tom Hoge (USA) 70 70 75

216 Zack Sucher (USA) 72 71 73

217 Brendan Steele (USA) 72 70 75, Hank Lebioda (USA) 71 72 74, Beau Hossler (USA) 69 72 76, Matthew Short (USA) 76 67 74

219 Fabian Gomez (Arg) 70 69 80