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Page last updated at 00:51 GMT, Sunday, 15 August 2010 01:51 UK

Rory McIlroy chases Nick Watney in USPGA final round

THIRD ROUND LEADERBOARD: -13 N Watney (US) -10 D Johnson (US), R McIlroy (NI) -9 W Liang (Chi), J Day (Aus), M Kaymer (Ger) -8 Z Johnson (US), J Dufner (US), S Elkington (US), J Furyk (US) -7 B Molder (US), B Watson (US), M Kuchar (US) Selected others: -6 S Dyson (Eng), S Khan (Eng) -5 E Els (SA) -3 T Woods (US), P Casey (Eng) -1 P Mickelson (US) +5 I Poulter (Eng) Missed cut: +2 P Harrington (Ire), L Oosthuizen (SA), C Wood (Eng) +3 S Garcia (Spa), G McDowell (NI) +4 J Rose (Eng) +5 L Donald (Eng) +8 R Fisher (Eng) +18 C Montgomerie (Sco)

Nick Watney
Watney leads by three shots with 18 holes left on the shores of Lake Michigan

By Rob Hodgetts

American Nick Watney will begin Sunday's final round of the USPGA with a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson at Whistling Straits.

The 29-year-old Watney raced four clear before dropping a shot at the last to end with a 66 for 13 under after three rounds as his pursuers both carded 67s.

China's Liang Wenchong set a course record of 64 to join Martin Kaymer (67) and Jason Day (66) on nine under.

Tiger Woods (72) ended three under as Phil Mickelson took 73 for one under.

Half the 156 starters were forced to complete their seconds rounds on Saturday after almost six hours were lost because of fog over the first two days on the shores of Lake Michigan.

The cut fell at one over, leaving 72 players to contest the final 36 holes, and Watney quickly passed second-round leader Matt Kuchar with two opening birdies.

Watney, who was seventh at both the Masters and the Open, tying for highest-placed American at St Andrews, forged to five under for the round after seven.

And despite tripping up with a bogey on the eighth, he made further birdies at 11, 14 and 16 to go four clear before slipping back on the last.

"I am going to go out there tomorrow, put a tee in the ground on No. 1 and just focus on that shot," Watney said. "It is going to be a long day and a tough day but I am really looking forward to it."

The 21-year-old McIlroy will go into Sunday in the penultimate group with Liang and with a very real chance of claiming his maiden major title - at a younger age than Woods was when he clinched the first of his 14 major titles aged 21 at the Masters in 1997.

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy hopes to become the second Northern Irish winner in three majors

"It'll be my first time in contention going into the last day [of a major] and hopefully I'm up for the challenge," said McIlroy, who tied third in last year's USPGA and also came third at the Open in July.

"I'm not going to be over-aggressive and stupid, but you are going to have to give yourself plenty of chances."

American Johnson, who is coached by Woods's old guru Butch Harmon, holed out before McIlroy in round three and will therefore partner Watney in the last group.

The big-hitting Johnson, 26, also led the US Open by three shots going into the final round before combusting at Pebble Beach in June.

"I think maybe at Pebble Beach I got maybe a little impatient, started moving a little too fast and on Sunday I'm really just going to focus on being patient and hitting quality golf shots."

None of the top six have ever won a major and five of the last six major champions were winning a major for the first time.

Woods closed to within five of the lead after completing his second round but went back out in 39 and had to finish birdie-birdie just to end with a level-par 72.

Things are starting to solidify - it's not like I'm working on eight different things

Tiger Woods

"Ironically I hit the ball better today than the other two days but I putted atrociously and didn't get any momentum," said Woods, who is one over for the four par fives this week.

Woods, who slumped to a career-worst 18 over total to finish last but one in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational last week, is likely to have to finish inside the top seven to have any chance of squeezing back inside the automatic US Ryder Cup spots on Sunday night.

The 34-year-old, who has been working with coach Sean Foley this week after Hank Haney quit earlier this year, added: "Things are starting to solidify, which is good. That's what I'm pleased about. It's not like I'm working on eight different things. It's just a couple key things, and it feels a lot better."

Back on eight under and not without a chance are 1995 champion Steve Elkington of Australia, 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson and fellow Americans Jason Dufner and 2003 US Open champion Jim Furyk.

Masters winner Mickelson squandered another chance to pass Woods as world number one with four bogeys and three birdies.

Englishmen Simon Dyson and Simon Khan are both back on six under, while Ernie Els bounced back from his second-round 74 with a 69 to finish five under.

But England's Ian Poulter ended last of those who made the cut after slumping to a 77 for five over.

The winners of the last two majors, South Africa's Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and Northern Ireland's US Open winner Graeme McDowell, as well as last year's winner YE Yang of South Korea, all missed the cut.

Ireland's 2008 champion Padraig Harrington also missed out on the last two rounds by one shot after double-bogeying the final hole when he was distracted by a photographer, jeopardising his chances of making the European Ryder Cup team.

"It's very disappointing, but it would be silly to think that my last shot is going to cost me my place," said Harrington.

"The Ryder Cup does come first. I made out my schedule to peak for the four majors and the Ryder Cup and I'm going to stick with it.

"If I get picked I want to be ready to play."

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see also
USPGA day three as it happened
14 Aug 10 |  Golf
Kuchar on top as McIlroy shines
14 Aug 10 |  Golf
USPGA day two photo gallery
13 Aug 10 |  Golf
Khan positive despite late errors
14 Aug 10 |  Golf
McIlroy three off pace at USPGA
14 Aug 10 |  Golf
Watson & Molinari set USPGA pace
13 Aug 10 |  Golf
Woods off to solid start at USPGA
12 Aug 10 |  Golf
Woods is not certain pick - Pavin
12 Aug 10 |  Golf
Woods eager to find form at USPGA
11 Aug 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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