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Conners holds steady to take PGA Championship lead

ROCHESTER - Canada’s Corey Conners was holding steady at the top of the PGA Championship leaderboard midway through a soggy third round on Saturday, as challengers stalled in the rain.

Conners started a grey, rainy day at Oak Hill sharing top spot with world number two Scottie Scheffler and Norway’s Viktor Hovland but with nine to play finds himself alone two clear of the pack at six-under.

While Conners turned in a disciplined error free first nine Scheffler was self-destructing in the tough conditions piling up four bogeys to tumble down the leaderboard suddenly five off the pace.

Bidding to become the first Canadian man to win a major since Mike Weir two decades ago at the Masters, Conners delivered a clinical controlled display starting his day with seven consecutive pars before taking his first and only birdie at the eighth.

Lurking two back are Hovland and 42-year-old Briton Justin Rose.

Like Scheffler, Hovland looked headed in the wrong direction early with back-to-back bogeys at four and five but steadied the ship with a birdie at eight to get to four-under.

Starting the day four off the lead Rose put himself in a deeper hole with a bogey at the second but the 42-year-old would make no more mistakes picking up four birdies through 13 holes to charge into contention.

From the first players off at 8:10am ET (1210 GMT) until the last pairing of Scheffler and Conners almost seven hours later the East Course had been pounded by often torrential rain that dumped more than half-inch (12.7 millimetres) on the already challenging layout.

Scheffler, Conners and Hovland had shared the overnight two shot lead and held the same advantage teeing off while an army of course workers pushing water off the greens with squeegees in a heroic effort to keep the course playable.

The downpour did not deter spectators but the large crowd appeared to be in an ugly mood by the time Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau teed off in the third last grouping, loudly jeering the LIV Golf standard bearer.

Once bitter rivals, the pair are now LIV Golf team mates united in the Saudi-bankrolled venture’s feud with the PGA Tour, which they left to sign on with the big money rebel circuit.

The boos certainly did not impact the two major winners, Koepka going one-under through 11 to sit just three off the lead and well within striking distance of a third PGA Championship.

One shot further adrift four back sits DeChambeau also with seven to play.

Starting on even par Rory McIlroy looked poised to make a charge with birdies at three and five but the Northern Irishman gave it all back and more with three bogeys over a four hole stretch heading into the turn.

The world number three, as he has all week, continued to grind away carding birdies at 12 and 13 to quickly get back in the hunt at one-under. REUTERS