Hend in the mix after WGC third round

Thomas Pieters and Zach Johnson are tied for the lead at 9 under after draining dramatic birdie putts on the 18th hole.

Quite rightly they are joint favourites, for Spieth is the man of the moment as Open champion, and McIlroy has an unmatched record at Quail Hollow, with two wins and the course record.

He made only three pars over his last 11 holes and wound up with his best chance yet to win in America.

Alone in third place one stroke behind the leaders is Scott Hend, who shot a 63 for the low round of the day.

Canada's Adam Hadwin, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and American Charley Hoffman are tied for fifth at 6 under. "But it's nice to see some putts go in and make some solid swings and keep rounds going, make par putts, just the stuff I haven't been doing".

That took the 29-year-old Australian to four under par and just a shot off the lead shared by Jimmy Walker and Thomas Pieters, but as Day, Spieth and McIlroy prepared to play their second shots to the 10th, the siren sounded to suspend play once again.

The four-time major victor recorded his third consecutive sub-par round - only four other players have done the same - with a two-under 68 at Akron on Saturday as he prepares to reel in Thomas Pieters and Zach Johnson at the summit of the leaderboard.

"I managed to find a lot of greens today".

Knox made bogey on his final hole, spoiling his chance to tie Pieters for the lead.

Day had charged up the leaderboard with four birdies in his first five holes and five birdies on the front nine.

When Hend holed from 18 feet for birdie at the last, more than 1½ hours ahead of the final pairing, he had the lead but Johnson and Pieters would eventually take the 54 hole lead, both recording birdies at the final hole to edge clear of the Queenslander. I drove it good.

Three bogeys in the space of five holes on the back nine knocked the big-hitting Belgian back, but he found the target with a 32-foot birdie try at the last. He couldn't punch under them because he had too much rough to cover with a punch shot beneath the branches.

Hend began the day with a birdie at No. 1 and added three birdies on the front nine along with one bogey.

He rebounded with a birdie at 10, but errant tee shots led to bogeys at 13 and 14 and a birdie at 16 was followed by another bogey at 17.

But from 250 yards away the big-hitting Belgian fired his approach onto the green to set up a two-putt birdie, before nearly spinning his approach to the third back into the hole.

"I'm just glad that I'm feeling better, but there's still a lot of stuff that is lingering and hanging in there". Lexi Thompson, who started the third round two shots behind, stumbled to 74 and wound up 10 shots back.

  • Jack Mann