McIlroy gets hot, Tiger goes cold in rainy day at Kiawah

First came the black cloud that has been following Tiger Woods on the weekend at the majors while Rory McIlroy stormed up the leaderboard.

The real storm showed up a short time later Saturday in the PGA Championship, halting the brilliant start by McIlroy and giving Woods a chance to stop his slide at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.

McIlroy opened with three birdies and two par saves, none bigger than on the third hole when his tee shot lodged in a thick tree limb that was rotting about 7 feet off the ground.

Even when McIlroy struggled he recovered remarkably. He reached up to remove the ball, took a penalty drop and made a 6-foot par putt to continue on his way.

It all looked so easy for McIlroy, who was at 6-under par through nine holes and tied for the lead with Vijay Singh when the third round was suspended.

“Just great position going into tomorrow, and that’s all I can really ask for, so happy with where I am,” McIlroy said.

For Woods, it was a grind on another windswept day at Kiawah Island.

He failed to birdie the par-5 second hole, and then badly missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the next hole. He hit a spectator with a fairway metal off the tee at the fourth, pulled a shot into the mounds short of the par-5 fifth hole and made yet another bogey on the par-5 seventh with two poor shots to the right, a wedge over the green into a waste area and another missed putt.

He made everything Friday to take a share of the 36-hole lead. He made nothing on Saturday. Woods already was five shots behind and facing a 6-foot par putt on the eighth hole when the siren sounded to stop play. He was at 1 under.

“I got off to a rough start today and couldn’t get anything going,” Woods said through a spokesman. “I’ll come back tomorrow morning and see what happens. There are a lot of holes left to play.”

The wind eased as dark clouds gathered over The Ocean Course, and rain poured down on this barrier island about an hour later. The 26 players who didn’t finish the round will return Sunday morning. The final round was to be played in threesomes of both tees, rare for a major championship.

Woods was about the only player going the wrong direction.

Singh, the 49-year-old who has not been in contention at a major in six years, opened with a 15-foot birdie putt and made a strong recovery from trouble on the par-5 seventh by making a 25-foot putt to join McIlroy atop the leaderboard.

Right behind was Adam Scott, showing no signs so far of a British Open hangover.

Scott blew a four-shot lead with four holes to play last month at Royal Lytham & St. Annes a month ago by closing with four straight bogeys. He came to life toward the end of his front nine Saturday four birdies in a five-hole stretch, capped by a 45-foot birdie putt on the ninth.

Scott was at 5-under par. Carl Pettersson, tied with Woods and Singh at the start of the round, was at 4 under through eight holes.

Photo courtesy of PGA Tour

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