Another charge of the late brigade for Rory McIlroy as Northern Irishman again plays his best having left too much to do at the US PGA Championship
- Rory McIlroy started nine shots off the lead having made silly mistakes all week
- Having finished on -2 it was another week of what could have been for McIlroy
- He started well having birdied the second but left himself too much to do
- Mito Pereira continues to lead the field and is bidding to become the first Chilean to win a major championship
As the saying goes, it was deja vu all over again for Rory McIlroy as he assembled another final-round charge at the 104th US PGA Championship on Sunday.
At the Masters last month he started 10 shots off the lead and clambered all the way into second place with a spectacular closing round of 64. This time the Northern Irishman was one shot closer to the pacemaker and once more looked at his best when going for broke.
The fun and games began at the second where a trademark bomb from the tee was followed by an approach to 15ft and he stroked in the birdie putt.
Rory McIlroy began his Sunday round impressively where he birdied the second
Another gain followed from 6ft at the third and then a real bonus from 25ft at the fourth. The 33-year-old then took advantage of his length to make it four successive birdies at the par-five fifth.
In all, 20 players teed off after McIlroy but when he stood on the sixth tee there were only five in front of him on the leaderboard. The story of McIlroy’s week, though, has been silly mistakes every time he gets into position and there was another at the sixth, as a stubbed chip came up well short leading to a momentum-crushing bogey.
He had an opportunity to get closer to the lead at the ninth and was visibly annoyed when the putt drifted by.
His bogey at the sixth proved to be a momentum crusher as he struggled to pick himself back up thereafter
A succession of birdie putts then failed to drop for the Northern Irishman
It became a familiar story as a succession of birdie putts failed to drop. At three under he had the best round on the course but, standing on the 16th tee still six behind, he was running out of time.
The last group to step on to the course featured two players with history in their sights. The pursuer was Matt Fitzpatrick, trying to become the first Englishman for 103 years to win the Wanamaker Trophy. The leader by three shots was Mito Pereira, the 27-year-old from Santiago seeking to become the first Chilean to claim a major.
Also in the thick of it were two more players without a win between them on the PGA Tour: Will Zalatoris, the consistent American who started alongside Fitzpatrick at three adrift, and Cameron Young, another exciting rookie from the host nation, who was four back .
Mito Pereira (left) was bidding to become the first Chilean in history to claim a major championship
Fitzpatrick began with first-hole nerves, as the 27-year-old from Sheffield missed the fairway and then cleared the green with his approach, running up a bogey. Pereira then missed from 8ft to drop a shot at the third.
Thankfully, the pair settled down. Fitzpatrick birdied the fourth and Pereira the fifth. Zalatoris had moved within one of the lead with two early birdies but did well to escape with just a bogey after a big mistake with his tee shot at the sixth.
It led to a 15-minute wait while he got a ruling – and the speedy Fitzpatrick seemed affected when he struck his tee shot into the water but escaped with a bogey.
England’s Tyrrell Hatton closed with a 68 to be tied 13th when he finished.