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Birdies on Nos. 17, 18 give Rory McIlroy chance to defend title

Updated: September 12, 2013 6:55AM

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — For the ­second consecutive day, Rory ­McIlroy made a dramatic move. One day ­after making birdie on four of his last seven holes, McIlroy birdied three of his last six Saturday, including birdies on the difficult 17th and 18th holes.

Finishing with a 67, the defending PGA champion is 3 under par, six shots off the lead, and thinking about making a run.

“It’s getting there,’’ said McIlroy, trying to rekindle the game that has won two majors in the last three years. “It was good to feel the rush again.’’

Tiger? Phil? Don’t ask

In an indicator of how much tougher Oak Hill played, the world’s top two ranked players were a combined 11 over par.

“I didn’t start off very good and I didn’t finish very good,’’ Tiger Woods said after a 73 that left him 4 over. “And in the middle part, I was grinding just to hang in there around par.

After ballooning to a 78 that left him 10 over, Phil Mickelson left the course without comment. Not that there was anything to say. If he and playing partner Vijay Singh (73), who have won a combined eight majors, had been playing a best ball, they would have finished the day even-par.

Land of Linksters

Kevin Streelman, the pride of Wheaton Warrenville South, shot a 66 to give him an outside chance. He is 2 under par.

Among the trio of Illinois alums, Steve Stricker (70, 5-under through 54 holes) is in the hunt for his first major. Luke Guthrie (69) is 1 over. D.A. Points (72) is 5 over.


Twitter: @HerbGould

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