Rory McIlroy: ‘I’ll take a win any way it comes’
World No 1 ready for scrap if it comes during final round of US PGA
Rory McIlroy plays from a greenside bunker on the 18th hole during the third round of the US PGA Championship at Valhalla GC in Kentucky. Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA
Rory McIlroy admitted he would take any kind of victory after claiming a narrow lead heading into the final round of the US PGA Championship.
McIlroy won his first two Major titles by eight shots and was six ahead after 54 holes on his way to victory in the British Open at Royal Liverpool last month.
But the 25-year-old is just one ahead of Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger after a third round of 67 at Valhalla, with Rickie Fowler another stroke back in third and Phil Mickelson and Jason Day within three of the lead.
“I’ll take a win any way it comes,” said the world number one, who is seeking his second Major title in four weeks and third win in succession. “If that means having to scrap it out with a couple of people coming down the stretch, so be it. Any win would be very satisfying.
“I didn’t have my best stuff for some of that round today. Obviously I finished well with three birdies in the last four holes but the middle of the round was pretty scrappy.
“The last two days it has not been quite as good as I can be. If everything does click tomorrow, then obviously I feel like there’s a very low score in me.
“The biggest thing I was concerned about on the back nine today was not being in the lead. I got tied for the lead there for a while and I wanted to just get back in the lead.
“I’m really confident right now no matter who is on that leaderboard; I feel like I have a pretty good chance in beating them.
“It’s more mentally and physically tough whenever you’re at this end of a leaderboard, especially a few weeks in a row. But I gave myself Monday off here this week and I still feel pretty fresh going into tomorrow.”
Wiesberger was a total of 12 over for his previous two appearances in the US PGA before this week and had only made one halfway cut in five previous Majors, but carded a flawless 65 which was completed in stunning fashion.
The 28-year-old world number 70 holed from inside three feet on the 505-yard 16th, almost holed his second shot to the 17th and then left an eagle pitch just inches short on the 18th.
“It was a dream come true really, going out there with Phil (Mickelson), one of my heroes,” said Wiesberger, who lost a play-off for the Lyoness Open in his native Vienna in June, the event he won in 2012 for his second European Tour title.
“I played beautifully today, I didn’t miss a lot of shots, set up a few nice opportunities on the last few holes especially. I’m very proud of myself the way I played.
“It’s a completely new situation for me so I am quite a rookie in this particular situation. I know what I’m capable of doing. I know if I drive the ball well and don’t get ahead of myself, I can play good golf.
“I’ve never played well in the Majors. I’ve played well in the other bigger events in Europe and won a couple. It’s not the same, but you kind of get a feeling for what you have to do, how you have to handle yourself. It’s just on a different level but you’re still out there with your caddie trying to do the best you can.
“I’m friends with Rory and I’m sure it’s going to be a nice situation out there tomorrow again. Hopefully do the things well that I did today and just enjoy myself. From now on, it’s just a bonus, really.”