Rory McIlroy blows another great chance of ending Major famine

Rory McIlroy shows his frustration after a poor third round

Rory McIlroy shows his frustration after a poor third round

Mito Pereira of Chile leads going into the final round

Mito Pereira of Chile leads going into the final round

Seamus Power enjoyed a fine third round

Seamus Power enjoyed a fine third round

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy must go back to the major drawing board after a disastrous third round 74 that left him needing a miracle to end his eight-year drought in the US PGA at Southern Hills.

The Holywood star mounted a late comeback from disaster but closed with bogey and fell nine shots behind Chile’s Mito Pereira, tied for 17th on level par, in cool and blustery conditions in Tulsa.

As Seamus Power surged into contention with a three-under 67 to lie solo sixth, six shots off the pace on three-under, McIlroy went backwards on moving day.

The Holywood star was five behind Will Zalatoris overnight but ran up a double bogey after a visit to water at the par-three sixth before following another dropped shot at the seventh with a three-putt bogey at the eighth.

He birdied the short par-four ninth but ran up a disastrous triple-bogey six at the 168-yard 11th when he failed to make it out of the swale left of the green at the first attempt and three-putted from 10 feet. He was 10 shots behind Pereira at that stage and outside the top 20 on two-over.

But while he rallied and birdied the par-five 13th, then stitched his tee shot at the 223-yard 14th before making a 25 footer at the 16th, he flared his approach nearly 60 feet right of the flag at the 18th and three-putted, knocking his approach putt 11 feet past before leaving the course without comment.

Mito Pereira of Chile leads going into the final round

Mito Pereira of Chile leads going into the final round

Still seeking his first PGA Tour win, Pereira (27) sandwiched four mid-round bogeys between four birdies before knocking in a 27 footer for birdie at the 18th for a 69 and a three-shot lead over England’s Matt Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris, who shot rounds of 67 and 73 respectively.

Irish eyes will be on Power after he fired four birdies in his last eight holes for a 67.

The West Waterford star (35) was tied for 23rd on level par overnight, nine shots behind Zalatoris before he followed a level par front nine with a sensational homeward run of 32.

Playing in just his second major having tied for 27th on his debut in the Masters, he world number 42 bogeyed the third but birdied the 373-yard fourth before picking up another shot at the par-five fifth.

Seamus Power enjoyed a fine third round

Seamus Power enjoyed a fine third round

After watching a 40 footer stop on the lip at the seventh, he missed five footer for par at the eighth to turn in level par and dropped another shot at the 168-yard 11th when he finished in the swale left of the green.

But he showed his class down the stretch by reeling off four birdies in five holes.

After firing wedges to eight feet at the 12th and four feet at the par-five 13th, he rifled a 157-yard approach to six feet at the 15th and knocked in the putt.

He then almost holed out for albatross with a three wood at the 296-yard 17th, before pitching to eight feet and knocking in the putt.

“It was a funny round,” Power said. “I bogeyed 11, and then I actually hit it in the rough on 12, but guessed right coming out of the rough, and it got close. And that really got me turned into the right direction.”


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