TORONTO, Canada: Taiwan's Pan Cheng-tsung opened and closed with back-to-back birdies to grab a two-stroke lead after Saturday's (Sunday in Manila) third round of the US PGA Tour's Canadian Open.
Two-time defending champion Rory McIlroy and England's Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood charged into the hunt but it was Pan, trying to end a four-year PGA win drought, who fired a six-under par 66 to lead after 54 holes at Oakdale on 14-under 202.
Pan capped his second 66 in a row with birdie putts from just outside 10 feet at 17 and the par-5 18th.
“That put me in a good spot, but I still got a lot of work to do,” Pan said. “I won't do too much to change.
“But you still have to play aggressive because this course, it's a lot of rough, but if you hit it in the fairway you will have a lot of short irons in and create a lot of birdie opportunities.”
A second-place pack included world number three McIlroy, 2013 US Open champion Rose and Fleetwood, a two-time major runner-up chasing his first US PGA victory, plus Americans Mark Hubbard, Harry Higgs and Andrew Novak.
McIlroy fired a bogey-free 66, including three birdies on the front nine and three in a row on the back nine on a putt from just inside 17 feet at the par-3 11th, a tap-in after reaching the green in two at the par-5 12th and a 30-foot putt at 13.
“The key to this golf course is getting off to a good start,” McIlroy said. “I was able to do that and kept it going through the middle of the round.
“Putter went cold over those last five holes. Feel like I could have squeezed a couple more shots out of the round but overall really pleased with how I played.”
McIlroy only played nine holes on the unfamiliar layout before round one.
“Sometimes ignorance is bliss on golf courses and not knowing where the trouble is and not having memories of where not to miss it,” he said.
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