BMW PGA Championship: Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari tied for lead at Wentworth

Rory McIlroy birdied the last two holes to tie for the lead on 13 under with Italy’s Francesco Molinari going into the final day of the PGA Championship.

Overnight leader McIlroy struggled on the front nine, but rallied to card a one-under 71 at Wentworth.

Molinari carded six birdies in his 66 to jump up the leaderboard but needed a par from the water at 18.

England pair Ross Fisher and Sam Horsfield are four off the lead, while Lee Westwood is a further shot back.

Northern Ireland’s McIlroy, the 2014 winner, had a three-shot advantage going into the third round, but that was quickly wiped out and he was three over through the first six holes.

The world number eight missed a short birdie attempt on the first.

Then, after sending his drive into the trees on the third and finding the bunker with his second shot, he missed a par putt from two feet to drop his first shot of the day.

The four-time major winner found the trees again on the par-four sixth when his second shot out of the trees hit a female spectator on the hand, with McIlroy eventually holing for a double bogey.

Molinari, the world number 32, took the lead briefly with a chip-in on the 14th, before McIlroy birdied the 12th to go back on level terms.

But the 35-year-old Italian then holed a 30-foot putt on the 16th to restore his advantage, which he extended to two shots with a birdie on the 17th.

He saved par on the par five 18th after finding the water to sign for the only bogey-free round of the day in windy conditions in Surrey.

“It was great, a tough day, so it is nice to see a clean scorecard on a day like that,” Molinari told Sky Sports.

McIlroy birdie the 17th and repeated the feat on the 18th, despite hitting another spectator with a wayward drive.

“I steadied the ship [after the sixth hole],” said McIlroy, 29. “After that I gave myself a target to get to even par for the day, but I thankfully got in under par in the end.”

With a risk of thunderstorms, Sunday’s tee-times have been brought forward and players will play in three-balls. McIlroy and Molinari will tee off with Fisher at 11:00 BST.

Other contenders

Horsfield, the world 285, who only turned professional last year, kept himself in contention with a strong finish.

The 21-year-old, who played alongside McIlroy, had fallen down the leaderboard after three bogeys and a double bogey in his first 10 holes.

But five birdies in his back nine saw him sign for level par and stay on nine under.

Compatriot Fisher finished with an eagle on the 18th that put him tied for second alongside Horsfield, South Africa’s Branden Grace and Sewden’s defending champion Alex Noren.

Westwood eagled the 12th as he finished with a 69, to tie for third on eight under.

England Robert Rock and and Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult, who eagled the fourth and 12th, are a shot back.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry is in a group on six under, while English trio Paul Casey, Chris Wood and Matthew Fitzpatrick, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell are on five under.

Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood’s disappointing 77 saw him drop to three under to tie with Ian Poulter.

There will be a live text commentary of the fourth round on the BBC Sport website and highlights on BBC Two from 18:00-19:00 BST.



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