SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — William McGirt completed just two holes on Saturday before third-round play of the PGA Championship was suspended for the day due to heavy rain and thunderstorms.
It didn’t seem to affect him on Sunday morning at Baltusrol, as the Fairmont native posted a 4-under-par 66 in his first weekend round at a major to finish the third round at 7 under, four shots back of the leader Jimmy Walker. Defending champion Jason Day is one back at 10 under.
Despite a disappointing bogey on the par-5 18th — the end result of finding the fairway bunker off the tee — McGirt rolled in four birdies on the round, including three in four holes on the back nine.
Adding the birdie on the par-4 second hole from Saturday, McGirt started Sunday’s round with a birdie on No. 5 to make the turn at 2 under. He caught fire on the final nine holes, with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, before rolling in his final birdie on the par-4 15th.
“I played great all day,” McGirt said after the round. “It was a solid day. It was definitely wet out there. I had a couple of times where it was borderline on casual water relief. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it either time. It’s pretty sloppy out there right now. We had a couple of doozy mud balls.”
Weather continues to be the main story line heading into the afternoon as the final groups prepare to tee off. But the wet conditions and the benefit of preferred lies in the final round could provide some drama down the stretch with low rounds expected across the leaderboard.
“If someone is driving it well, they can go crazy low because we’re throwing darts,” McGirt said. “The hardest part is figuring out how far past the hole you have to throw it because even 6- and 7-irons are spinning back. Any time you have a wedge, good luck, you better hope you have 10-15 paces behind it.”
For McGirt, the goal is to simply “go out and play my best.”
“You have to keep your head down and see where it all shakes out at the end,” he said. “If Jason keeps playing well, he’s going to be hard to catch. I just have to go out and play as well as I can.”
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.