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McIlroy tops leaderboard before storm

Rory McIlroy charged to the top of the leaderboard and Tiger Woods tumbled right off it before play had to be suspended for the day in the USPGA Championship third round at Kiawah Island.

McIlroy birdied five of the first eight holes - and saved a remarkable par after his ball stuck in a tree - but with a bogey on the ninth retreated to the clubhouse level with Vijay Singh and one ahead of Australian Adam Scott. Woods had dropped three shots in his first seven holes to be five shots back.

That was because of a thunderstorm along the South Carolina coast which prevented the round being completed before nightfall.

Woods had resumed as joint leader with Singh, at 49 trying to become golf's oldest-ever major champion, and Carl Pettersson, but things started going wrong when he missed a three-foot birdie chance at the 390-yard first.

He followed by hooking into the crowd off the next tee, a man being given a signed glove after being struck by the ball, and made further bogeys at the short fifth and 579-yard seventh, where he played three of his six shots off sand. He had dropped all the way into an eight-way tie for 11th five strokes behind.

Scott is only three weeks on, of course, from his nightmare finish to The Open at Royal Lytham, where he was cruising to his first major title, but then bogeyed the final four holes and lost by one to Ernie Scott had the chance to do the same after also going to the turn in 32, a front nine completed with a 45-foot putt.

McIlroy's drama at the third had come two months after Lee Westwood lost a ball in branches when in contention for the US Open. After starting with back-to-back birdies, the Northern Irishman was involved in a search for his ball and it needed a television replay to show that it had lodged eight feet off the ground.

Whereas Westwood could not recover from his misfortune McIlroy, having reached up to retrieve, took a penalty drop, pitched on to seven feet and made it to save par.

Earlier, England's Justin Rose and David Lynn and Irishman Padraig Harrington all leapt out of the pack by going to the turn in 32. Rose began only 47th after his desperately disappointing 79 on Friday and climbed all the way to seventh before undoing a lot of his great work over the closing stretch.

He just had time to par the last for a 69 and one under total before the sirens sounded around the course. At 6.30pm it was announced there would be no further play and that the round would resume at 7.45am.

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