Walker leads Day by one going into final round of PGA
By Larry Fine
SPRINGFIELD, New Jersey (Reuters) - Jimmy Walker birdied the last for a one-shot lead over Jason Day after Sunday's completion of the weather-interrupted third round of the PGA Championship at Baltusrol, where the final round was already underway.
Walker, who reached the par-five 18th in two at water-logged Baltusrol, posted a two-under 68 for an 11-under total of 199.
World number one and defending champion Day also birdied the final hole for 67 and a 200 total, one stroke better than British Open champion Henrik Stenson (67) and American Brooks Koepka (66).
The leaders had more than three hours to wait before returning for their final round tee times, weather permitting, as warning signs had already been posted on the course and the forecast suggested possible thunderstorms.
The wrap-up of the third round was played simultaneously with the start of the fourth, which was being conducted with preferred lies for the first time in a PGA Championship, in an attempt to complete the tournament on Sunday.
Walker was co-leader on nine under par when play was suspended on Saturday without him hitting a single tee shot.
Returning early on Sunday along with 48 other players who had not fished the third round, Walker bogeyed the third and fifth holes and relinquished the lead to Australian Day, whose birdie at the ninth lifted him to nine under.
But Walker caught fire after the turn with birdies at 11 and 12 and tied Day for the lead, which he claimed outright with a birdie at 15 and another at the last.
"I was making a few loose swings here and there on the front nine and finally settled in and made a good swing," said Walker, a 37-year-old Texan.
Rain was still falling at soggy Baltusrol as the final round rolled on, but that did not hold back three-times major winner Padraig Harrington.
The Irishman nearly holed out from the fairway at the par-four fifth where he birdied and stood at six-under for the championship through seven holes of the last round.
American journeyman William McGirt, who shot a 66 to stand on seven-under along with Japan's Hideki Matsuyama (67) and overnight co-leader Robert Streb (72), said conditions were testing.
"The rough is now so wet, it's really juicy and it's going nowhere. It's coming out just so dead. The fairways, it's kind of hit or miss," said McGirt.
"I had a couple of times where I had a bunch of mud on it and a couple of times where it was borderline casual (water) but I didn't get relief. I heard we're playing it up in the fourth round, so at least they're thinking smart in that respect."
(Editing by Ed Osmond)