Hopes fade for Rory McIlroy as Rickie Fowler leads at Wells Fargo Championship

Rickie Fowler took control of the Wells Fargo Championship last night with a third-round score of 68.

England's Justin Rose also moved into contention - but Rory McIlroy saw his hopes nosedive at Quail Hollow.

Fowler's first win on the PGA Tour was at this event four years ago - and he again found the course to his liking on Saturday.

The 27-year-old's four-under-par round moved him a shot clear at the top of the leaderboard, one clear of Roberto Castro and two ahead of another American - James Hahn - and Rose.

Many players found scoring difficult and the conditions challenging - and Rose was pleased with his 69 - which included five birdies and two bogeys.

He told the PGA Tour: "All in all it's a good day's work. 68s were the lowest scores of the day so I was right there with that.

"But I left some out there so I still feel there's a little bit more in the tank - and hopefully that pulls through for me tomorrow."

A 49-foot putt for birdie on 13th was the highlight of Rose's round and he admitted. "That's the putt of the year for me so far. I'd have bitten your arm off for a two-putt, it was so glassy and quick."

McIlroy is eight shots off the pace on one under par after a round of 73, the highlight of which was a long and curling putt for birdie from 79 feet on the par-three 17th.

The Irishman is two shots adrift of Paul Casey, who managed a 72.

However, fellow Englishmen Ian Poulter and Luke Donald struggled on day three. Both fired 77s which left them out of contention on five and six over par respectively.

They were not alone in finding the third round a struggle though. Chesson Hadley, Mark Hubbard and Steve Wheatcroft were all in the frame until their rounds of 76 - a figure which was matched by five-time major winner Phil Mickelson.

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