Ian Poulter made a phenomenal start to the final round of the US PGA Championship to reduce Rory McIlroy’s lead to two.
A disappointing third round 74 looked to have dented the Englishman’s hopes of a first Major Championship at Kiawah Island, but by starting with five consecutive birdies he was into second and only two behind his Ryder Cup teammate.
The Northern Irishman took a three stroke advantage over Carl Pettersson into the final round after earlier returning to complete a third round 67.
Poulter hit every green in regulation, rolled in a 12 footer at the first, a couple from close range then a 30 footer at the fourth and from 18 feet at the fifth race to six under par.
McIlroy had a birdie of his own at the long second to move to eight under – and the good news for Europe did not stop there.
Swede Peter Hanson was two under for his first four holes to join compatriot Pettersson, Australian Adam Scott and American Bo Van Pelt in third place on four under.
Poulter's sparkling run came to an end when he missed from 12 feet at the sixth - and behind him McIlroy went three clear again with birdies of his own at the second and third.
The first of them was not routine. He pulled an iron on the par five and finished under a tree, but punched his third shot off the bark chippings to five feet and followed that putt with an eight footer on the next.
Pettersson had been the closest challenger to McIlroy with a round to go, but walking off the fourth tee he was told of a two stroke penalty on the opening hole.
He had pushed his drive into the edge of a hazard and on the backswing for his second shot he had flicked the grass behind the ball.
His par there became a double-bogey six and after a birdie on the third he was six back rather than four.
Poulter, who had needed a top nine finish to move into a Ryder Cup qualifying spot, two-putted from the fringe of the long seventh for his sixth birdie, but could not get up and down from sand at the 198 yard next and by bogeying handed McIlroy a three stroke lead once more.
Pettersson overcame his crushing setback with three successive birdies to be third on his own again at five under, four behind.
With Pelt and Steve Stricker not making a move, meanwhile, Phil Mickelson was looking good to keep hold of the eighth and last spot on the American Ryder Cup table.