Things started out promising for McIlroy on Saturday at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. He made the turn at one under par with two birdies and one bogey. One of those birdies came on the eighth hole, which has been brutal for the entire field this weekend.
After making the turn, McIlroy hit his third birdie of the day on the par-five 10th hole to move his overall score to two under par.
That would turn out to be the high point of McIlroy's round, which took a sharp turn midway through the back nine. The 31-year-old fell back to even par with consecutive bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14.
Things did briefly turn around on the 16th when McIlroy put his second shot on the par four within two feet of the hole. His birdie putt moved him within one shot of par for the round.
Any semblance of momentum McIlroy was hoping to build faded away over the final two holes. He finished with two consecutive bogeys, including a four on the par-three 17th hole when his tee shot landed in the rough behind the green.
Driving accuracy wasn't a strength for McIlroy in the third round. The Northern Ireland native hit six of 14 fairways, marking the third straight day he's been no higher than 50 percent, per PGATour.com.
By putting himself into those rough positions off the tee, McIlroy is increasing the pressure on his short game. He's struggled in that area throughout the tournament, finishing with negative strokes gained putting in each of the first two rounds. He needed 29 putts to get through 18 holes Saturday.
Even though McIlroy won't have an opportunity to win his third PGA Championship on Sunday, he can at least salvage things if he can finish strong in the final round.