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Rose sees US PGA chances wither
Justin Rose saw his hopes of a second major title in the space of two months dramatically disappear, but Lee Westwood and defending champion Rory McIlroy were back in contention at the US PGA Championship.
Rose began the third round three shots off the lead and looking to join golfing legends Gene Sarazen (1922), Ben Hogan (1948), Jack Nicklaus (1980) and Tiger Woods (2000) as the only men to win the US Open and US PGA in the same year.
But the 33-year-old Englishman dropped six shots in the space of four holes and went to the turn at Oak Hill in 42, the same stretch of holes he had covered in just 29 in his second-round 66.
McIlroy had been heading for a second consecutive missed cut in major championships when he stood five over for 11 holes of his second round on Friday, but the 24-year-old birdied four of the next six to finish level par.
He was still level for the tournament after 12 holes today but birdied the 13th, holed from 50ft for another on the 17th and then chipped in on the 18th to card a 67 to lie three under.
"I probably made up at least three, three and a half shots on those last two holes," said McIlroy, who has been watching videos of his eight-shot win last year for inspiration after carding just one top-three finish so far in 2013. His victory at Kiawah Island was one of five in 2012.
"It's getting there. It was good to feel the sort of rush again. I felt it a bit in San Antonio this year (where he finished second to Martin Laird). Making a birdie on 17 is like an eagle and then to follow it up with another on the last is even better.
"I knew they were going to toughen the golf course up today. I sort of thought two 65s would still have a chance, 10 under par. But the way the conditions are with the swirling wind, it's tricky out there. I felt like I still had a chance.
"Every time I'm in that position I just think back to Quail Hollow a few years ago and what I did on the weekend there (winning with rounds of 66 and 62). It gives me a bit confidence knowing that I've been in that position before and I've been able to win.
"I know this is a major championship and it's a bit different, but I felt good enough about my game that I could go out there and post a good one today and at least give myself a chance going into tomorrow."
Asked if he knew that the leaders had been struggling, McIlroy added: "Yes, very aware. I'm going to enjoy watching this afternoon."
Westwood's chances of winning a first major at the 63rd attempt appeared slim when he dropped three shots in the last two holes of his second round 73 to start the day eight off the lead.
But the 40-year-old carded three birdies and one bogey to reach the turn in 33 and after dropping a shot at the 11th, birdied the 12th and 14th.
A bogey on the 15th halted his momentum but the former world number one returned a 68 to join McIlroy in the clubhouse on three under par.
Westwood, who held a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Open at Muirfield last month before fading to third, said: "All in all it was very good. I figured somewhere around 67 might give me a chance going into tomorrow.
"My game has been great all week other than a poor finish yesterday, which you can't really afford to do in major championships, give shots away like that.
"I'm definitely hitting the ball better than I was at Muirfield. Obviously I didn't putt as well as I did at Muirfield this week, but another Sunday and another chance."
Westwood's playing partner Jonas Blixt had set the clubhouse target on six under, the Swede's last birdie in a flawless 66 coming on the 18th after his tee shot had flown straight into a spectator's trouser pocket.
From there Blixt received a free drop - "I'm just glad it wasn't plugged," he joked - and hit a five-iron approach to three feet.
At six under he was three behind Jim Furyk, the US Open champion recovering from two early bogeys with birdies at the fourth, eighth, 10th and 12th, with Dufner and Henrik Stenson a shot behind.