WATCH: Rory McIlroy hits spectator during disastrous start at Wentworth but rallies to tie for the lead
Rory McIlroy got off to a disastrous start in the third round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, but he showed all his fighting qualities to finish in a tie for the lead with Italy's Francesco Molinari.
McIlroy looked a shadow of the player who had threatened to run away with the title in a thrilling round of 65, as he dropped three shots in the opening six holes of his second round and hit a spectator as he attempted to hack his way out of the rough.
"How brave is she?" 🤕 @McIlroyRory's attempt to hack out of a bush at Wentworth resulted in a painful blow for an unfortunate spectator! 🚑— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) May 26, 2018
Follow coverage from the third round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth live on Sky Sports Golf or here: https://t.co/18yP9dSaIA pic.twitter.com/48xSNiqPnK
Yet the Irishman bounced back with a solid final 12 holes, that included two birdies on the closing two holes to leave him at 13 under par.
Molinari will head into Sunday's final round on the same total after he saved par on the final hole despite finding the water, with the Italian delighted to record a bogey free round of 65.
"It was great, a tough day, so it is nice to see a clean scorecard on a day like that," Molinari told Sky Sports. "Now I have a real chance going into Sunday and it will be great to test myself on this course again."
McIlroy was relieved to salvage his round after his troubled start, as he admitted he needed to find his composure.
"I steadied the ship (after the sixth hole)" said McIlroy. "After that I gave myself a target to get to even par for the day, but I thankfully got in under par in the end.
"You have days like that when things don't go as you would want at the start, but I managed to turn in around and I have given myself a chance for Sunday now."
After 54 holes:— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 26, 2018
-13 F. Molinari, McIlroy
-9 R. Fisher, Grace, Noren, Horsfield
-8 Westwood, Korhonen, Kiradech, Gros
-7 Kinhult, Bjerregaard, Fichardt, Jensen, Rock
👉 https://t.co/Um939VUYHM pic.twitter.com/p0u7JsWj8q