McIlroy two back of PGA leader Mitchell at Quail Hollow

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Washington

Keith Mitchell, chasing his second career US PGA title, fired a five-under par 66 to seize a two-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy and Gary Woodland after Saturday’s third round of the Wells Fargo Championship.

The 29-year-old American’s bogey-free round left him on nine-under 204 after 54 holes at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“All of it feels good right now,” Mitchell said. “Really just trying to keep the ball in front of me and see what we can do tomorrow.”

Four-time major winner McIlroy fired 68 and 2019 US Open champion Woodland shot 70 to finish on 206, one stroke ahead of American Luke List with Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira and American Scott Stallings sharing fifth on 208.

McIlroy, in his first event since missing the cut at the Masters, said his game has turned a corner. “I felt far off. I still think I was pretty far away,” McIlroy said of his game.

“I worked pretty hard these last couple weeks. I found something last week.” McIlroy said he was energized by a spectators gallery as near to pre-pandemic levels as the tour has seen.

“I felt that buzz out there on the course and when you feel it you can give something back,” McIlroy said.

“Just so cool to play in an atmosphere like that again. I’ve missed it. I didn’t think I would miss it as much as I did, but I really have. “So to be in contention, to have the fans back.—AP