A few days after his 24th birthday, Jordan Spieth came to the PGA Championship attempting to become the youngest golfer to win each of the four Grand Slam tournaments. But by the start of Saturday's third round at Quail Hollow Club his expectations had been lowered.
"My goal was to try to work our way into a backdoor top 10," Spieth said.
The idea persisted after he birdied 14, 15 and16 to get to two under for the day and into position to have his first sub-par round of the tournament. But he double bogeyed 18.
"Kind of stinks because it sets me back there," Spieth said. "Eighteen is just a ridiculously hard hole today."
So Spieth, with scores of 72-73-71 on the par-71 course was at 216, three over for 54 holes and trying to stay upbeat with recollections of his recent victories, at the Travelers and British Open.
"To not have a chance to win, obviously you've fallen short of where you'd like to be," Spieth said.
"I didn't have it written in a diary when I was young [that] I needed to win a career Grand Slam. The goal is to try and win them all. And yeah, I have a lot of opportunities. The PGA I think is going to be the toughest for me. I feel like my game truly suits the other three majors maybe more than the PGA championship."
McIlroy still struggles
Rory McIlroy, who is winless in 2017, had his third-straight over-par round, a two-over 73. He's at 217, four over for three rounds and outside the top 40.
McIlroy twice won the Wells Fargo event at Quail Hollow, but the course was made considerably more difficult for the PGA.
"The way conditions have been the last three days, I haven't seen a low score out there for me," McIlroy said. "After playing practice rounds I felt there was a decent one out there. But I haven't driven the ball well enough to give myself chances for birdies."
McIlroy, 28, one of the game's bombers, was paired with 49-year-old Omar Uresti, a former Tour player and now a club pro. At one hole, McIlroy outdrove Uresti, 322 yards to 264.
Wiesberger helps some
When the pros left Friday night, the rain-delayed second round incomplete, it appeared the cut line would be five-over 147. But Austria's Bernd Wiesberger had three holes left, seven, eight and nine, and the probability was he would birdie at least one and lower the cut to four over.
Instead, he missed a seven-footer on seven, failed to birdie eight with a wedge and then dropped from the top 70 and ties by three-putting for a bogey on nine.
Wiesberger, a regular on the European Tour, not only missed a cut for the first time in 29 tournaments, he allowed everyone at five over, including Adam Scott, to play the last two days. Unfortunately, Scott opened the third round with a double bogey and shot 74.
And the eagle flies
Eagles flew Saturday at Quail Hollow. Graham DeLaet had consecutive eagles on 14 and 15, with birdies on 13 and 16, six under par in four holes. The 14th is a short par four, and DeLaet's tee shot landed eight feet from the cup.
Playing in the same threesome, Marc Leishman and Billy Horschel each had threes on the par-five10th. Leishmman chipped in from 85 feet off the back of the green, then Horschel chipped in from 25 feet from the front.
Bryson DeChambeau made two eagles of his own, at 10 and 14. He also had two birdies. but with a two double bogeys and three bogeys he shot 72.