Andres Romero overcame a dismal start on Saturday to claim a one-shot lead with 18 holes to play at the European Masters, as Rory McIlroy was left to rue a sloppy ending to his third round.

Romero, McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood all began the day one off the pace set by Gavin Green, but the former struggled early on as he followed a bogey at the second with a six at the par-four fifth.

However, Romero recovered superbly thereafter, carding six birdies and an eagle to offset one further bogey in a round of 66 at the picturesque Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.

At 14 under, he leads Wade Ormsby (67) by one, the Australian having recorded a bogey at the 18th.

Green (69) and Fleetwood (68) are two back on 12 under, having also bounced back from early dropped shots, while McIlroy is three back after a miserable finish.

The world number two, who roared into contention on Friday with a 63 as Romero shot 61, bogeyed the 17th and 18th to card a 69 and make his task on the final day significantly tougher.

Rory McIlroy showed he will be the man to beat over the weekend at the European Masters as he surged into title contention.

Just five days after winning the Tour Championship to collect a $15million FedEx Cup jackpot, McIlroy fired a seven-under-par 63 to climb into a share of second place in Crans-sur-Sierre.

At the impressive course in the Swiss Alps, Malaysian Gavin Green earned a one-shot lead on 11 under par after adding a 64 to his opening 65.

The 25-year-old has yet to win on the European Tour but will see this as a chance to break that duck, yet many will fancy big names McIlroy or Tommy Fleetwood, with the Ryder Cup team-mates both poised to strike from 10 under.

Fleetwood had a second straight 65 to reach that mark, while Andres Romero of Argentina took a rather more unorthodox route, following a 69 on Thursday with a 61 - the lowest round of his career.

Australian Wade Ormsby and Austrian Matthias Schwab also reached 10 under.

Surprise front-runner Green was reading little into the scores at halfway, the world number 209 taking his mind off his lofty position on the leaderboard by preferring to focus on the spectacular scenery.

"The atmosphere and views are amazing. In Malaysia we don't have anything like this," Green said. "I've been here a couple of times now and the views never get old. I'm just trying to enjoy it and play as well as I can."

McIlroy had three birdies and an eagle from the 14th to 17th holes, powering through the field, and the Northern Irishman is savouring his first playing visit to Switzerland in eight years.

"I'm excited to give myself another chance to win," McIlroy said, according to the European Tour website.

"I really wanted to come here and play well. 

"I've got two weeks off coming up, hopefully two more good days of golf left in me, give myself a chance to win this tournament, which I've had a great chance to win before. I would love to add this title to the list."

Danny Willett, Thomas Bjorn, Andy Sullivan and Luke Donald were among the players on level par through 36 holes, missing the cut by one shot.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera showed no sign of a wedding hangover as his stunning back nine earned a share of the European Masters lead, while Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia enjoyed solid starts in Crans-Montana.

Newlywed Lorenzo-Vera picked up six shots after the turn in his opening round to join Matthias Schwab at the top of the leaderboard at the end of Thursday's action.

The highlight of the Frenchman's day was an eagle on the par-five 14th, which came amid a run of five strokes gained in four holes. 

Having taken a prolonged break to get married and move into a new house, Lorenzo-Vera was pleased with his start in Switzerland.

"I'm very happy because I just had five weeks off," he said in quotes reported by the European Tour. "It was a stressful five weeks with a wedding and moving plus two kids. I managed to bring the head together pretty well.

"The best thing to do [with so much going on] is to have a very, very good psychologist, that you call often. I'm not kidding, that's really what I do. Try to clean the head as much as possible outside the tournaments, and come here fresh and ready to play golf."

Mikko Korhonen, Sebastian Soderberg and Lorenzo Gagli sat one stroke off the leading duo, while Tommy Fleetwood was in a six-way split of sixth on five under. Garcia, the 2005 champion, formed part of a group of players three shots back after a bogey-free 66.

McIlroy continued the strong form that saw him win the Tour Championship last weekend by carding a three-under 67.

The Northern Irishman moved up to second in the world rankings after claiming the FedExCup and has his eyes firmly on displacing number one Brooks Koepka.

"I feel like when I'm playing my best, I'm the best player in the world," McIlroy told Sky Sports.

"I'd like to get back there. It's been a goal of mine for a while. I haven't experienced that summit for the last four years.

"So I feel like with the work that I'm putting in and the consistent golf that I'm playing, hopefully it's only a matter of time."

Rory McIlroy is eyeing top spot in the world rankings after winning the Tour Championship and then making a strong start to the European Masters this week.

Four-time major champion McIlroy claimed the FedEx Cup with a strong Sunday display at East Lake, moving up to number two in the rankings, behind Brooks Koepka.

The Northern Irishman, while also determined to win more majors and complete a career grand slam at the Masters, is now determined to top the points charts.

McIlroy knows unseating Koepka would prove he is the best player in the world, and he believes he can string the results together to achieve the feat.

"I feel like when I'm playing my best, I'm the best player in the world," McIlroy told Sky Sports after carding a three-under 67 in the first round at the European Masters.

"I'd like to get back there. It's been a goal of mine for a while. I haven't experienced that summit for the last four years.

"So I feel like with the work that I'm putting in and the consistent golf that I'm playing, hopefully it's only a matter of time."

McIlroy had six birdies and three bogeys on Thursday at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland, a setting he considered ideal following the rigours of the Tour Championship.

"I think if I have to play a tournament this week, I wouldn't want to play anywhere else," he said. "That's the way I'd put it.

"It's a beautiful place and I'm glad I'm back after all these years. Hopefully I can play a bit of good golf over the next three days and give myself a chance."

Assessing his round, McIlroy added: "I played well on the back nine, which was our front nine. To play that nine in three under I thought was good.

"I took advantage of a couple of the shorter par-fours on the front nine but I made a couple of bogeys there as well. Overall, it was OK.

"It's so different to the golf I've been playing the past few weeks. I'm just trying to adjust and get used to these sort of greens again and how far the ball is going and what the ball is going to do out of the rough."

Tiger Woods has announced he had an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee last week to repair minor cartilage damage.

The 15-time major champion expects to return to action in October following the surgery.

Woods made a spectacular return from career-threatening back injuries in 2018, crowned by victory in the season-ending Tour Championship.

He then went on to secure a remarkable Masters success in April, his first major success in almost 11 years, but has since struggled for form and fitness.

As a result, he was unable to qualify for last week's Tour Championship, where he would have hoped to defend his title, and instead underwent surgery on his left knee.

"I expect Tiger to make a full recovery," said Dr Vern Cooley, who performed the arthroscopic procedure on Woods.

"We did what was needed, and also examined the entire knee. There were no additional problems."

Woods, who will captain the United States in the Presidents Cup in December, added: "I would like to thank Dr Cooley and his team. I'm walking now and hope to resume practice in the next few weeks. I look forward to travelling and playing in Japan in October [at the PGA Tour's Zozo Championship]."

The former world number one famously defied serious injuries to his left leg to win the U.S. Open in 2008.

He was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament after initially undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee following a second-placed finish at that year's Masters.

Woods then went on to suffer two stress fractures to his tibia, but somehow prevailed at Torrey Pines for a truly remarkable triumph, his most recent in majors prior to this year's amazing Augusta success.

Tiger Woods has announced he had an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee last week to repair minor cartilage damage.

The 15-time major champion expects to return to action in October following the surgery.

Brooks Koepka edged Rory McIlroy to win a second straight PGA of America Player of the Year Award.

World number one Koepka claimed three victories during the 2018-19 PGA Tour season, winning The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, US PGA Championship and WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

While McIlroy won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title on Sunday, he was edged by Koepka to the player of the year crown.

Koepka finished with 84 points, ahead of McIlroy (78) with Patrick Cantlay and U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland (42) well back.

The American is the first player to win back-to-back PGA of America Player of the Year crowns since Tiger Woods (2006 and 2007).

McIlroy did claim a prize, winning the Vardon Trophy for being the leader in adjusted scoring average.

The Northern Irishman added to his 2012 and 2014 titles with an adjusted average of 69.057, beating Cantlay (69.306) and Webb Simpson (69.377).

Rory McIlroy was delighted to join Tiger Woods as the only two-time winners of the FedEx Cup after his victory at the Tour Championship on Sunday.

McIlroy fired a four-under 66 in the final round at East Lake, winning by four strokes from Xander Schauffele despite briefly stumbling late.

The Northern Irishman added to his 2016 FedEx Cup title, joining Woods (2007 and 2009) as the only players to claim the crown twice.

McIlroy was thrilled to join Woods on the tally as he reflected on his victory and the ovation he received on the 18th hole.

"It was pretty cool. I turned to Harry [Diamond, caddie] when we were walking down the hill on 18 after I'd hit my second shot, and I said, 'well, this walk is a little more pleasant than last year, not running away from a stampede'," he told a news conference.

"It was cool. To have a moment like that again, I didn't play well at all last year with Tiger in that final group, so to get myself in a final group again this year.

"I thought a lot about that. I thought about the final group with Tiger last year, the final group with Brooks [Koepka] in Memphis a few weeks ago, and I really wanted to go out there and play well and really take it to him, and I did that for the most part. I went out, shot 66 on a really tough golf course and got the job done.

"Really cool, really cool to put my name on this trophy for a second time. Any time you can do something that only Tiger has done, you're doing something right.

"It was an awesome day, long day. To come back out in the morning and play 13 holes and then play that full 18, I'm going to sleep well tonight, put it that way."

McIlroy and Koepka were the final pairing, the world number one only able to shoot a two-over 72 to end up tied for third, five shots behind McIlroy.

Koepka came out on top when the pair were together during the last round at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational a month ago and McIlroy was pleased to secure his win this time.

"I think it just gives me a little bit of an extra incentive. It wasn't that important, but once I saw I was in the final group with Brooks, it just took me back to Memphis a few weeks ago, and I felt like I learned a few lessons that day," he said.

"Not that I wasn't going to focus, but it gave me that little bit of extra – not motivation, but I wanted to right some of the wrongs that I made that Sunday in Memphis a few weeks ago, and it was a good opportunity to do it."

Rory McIlroy claimed his second FedEx Cup title despite briefly stumbling late during his four-stroke win at the Tour Championship on Sunday.

McIlroy shot a four-under 66 in the final round at East Lake in Atlanta, ending up at 18 under and clear of Xander Schauffele (70) to claim the $15million prize.

The Northern Irishman also won the FedEx Cup in 2016. He and Tiger Woods are the only golfers to win two FedEx Cups.

The 30-year-old appeared en route to an easy victory in the final round, holding a four-stroke lead through 13 holes.

But he picked up his first bogey of the round on the 14th, then bogeyed the par-three 15th. Then, he hit his drive on the par-four 16th into a fairway bunker. With his lead cut to two strokes, disaster loomed, but McIlroy saved par on 16.

He then knocked down a 16-foot putt for birdie on 17 to build a three-stroke lead.

As fans surrounded the 18th green en masse, McIlroy made a nice save from a greenside bunker, then holed a short birdie putt to finish in style.

"Such a cool way to end what for me has been a great season," McIlroy told NBC.

"I'm so thankful … I couldn't be prouder to be your 2019 FedEx Cup champion."

McIlroy's brief struggles on his back nine opened the door for Schauffele and Brooks Koepka, but they could not capitalise.

Schauffele shot a final-round 70. Koepka bogeyed 12, 13 and 14, and needed a birdie on 17 to salvage a 72 and a tie for third with Justin Thomas, five shots behind McIlroy for the title.

Thomas shot a 68 on Sunday and birdied 16 and 18 to boost his payday.

Paul Casey finished fifth, nine shots behind McIlroy, despite a final-round 72.

Adam Scott, Tony Finau and Chez Reavie finished sixth through eighth respectively, and Patrick Reed, Kevin Kisner and Hideki Matsuyama tied for ninth.

Brooks Koepka holds a one-shot lead heading into the final round of the Tour Championship as the FedEx Cup gears up for a thrilling finale.

The lightning that struck East Lake Golf Course in DeKalb County, Georgia a day earlier meant the end of third round had to be completed on Sunday.

World number one Koepka heads the pack after a two-under 68 left him at -15 for the tournament, with the final round to begin later in the day.

Koepka made three gains on the way home, including a birdie at the last, to hit the front in the race for the lucrative FedEx Cup.

There was plenty of company for Koepka, though, with Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy just one stroke back.

Schauffele made the first professional hole-in-one of his career at the par-three ninth as part of a three-under 67, while McIlroy's 68 means the Northern Irishman is well in contention.

Justin Thomas was leading when the weather halted play on Saturday, but the American was four shots back after signing for a 71.

He was in a tie for fourth with Paul Casey, while the likes of Jon Rahm and Hideki Matsuyama at six under surely have too much work to do.

FedEx Cup hopeful Xander Schauffele enjoyed a moment to remember in round three of the Tour Championship with a timely hole-in-one.

The American became the second player this week to ace the 240-yard par-three ninth at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.

Schuaffele's tee shot bounced on the green and curved round into the hole as the ace followed a birdie at the previous hole.

Lightning on Saturday meant round three was unable to be completed on schedule, so it carried over into Sunday. Brooks Koepka led at 14 under through 14 holes as play continued, one clear of Schauffele, Rory McIlroy and overnight leader Justin Thomas.

Justin Thomas retook the Tour Championship lead but he was not able to finish his third round as lightning strikes injured six spectators.

Saturday's play was ultimately suspended due to inclement weather after lightning struck East Lake Golf Course in DeKalb County, Georgia.

The PGA Tour confirmed that a pair of lightning strikes had left spectators injured. However, their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Thomas was through five holes and leading by a stroke when play was halted on the penultimate day of the FedEx Cup Play-off decider.

The 2017 FedEx Cup champion, who entered the season-ending event 10 under via the new format, was off to a steady start Saturday.

Thomas – the BMW Championship winner – was even par through his first five holes and 12 under overall for the tournament, ahead of Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka.

The 10-time tour champion will resume play with the rest of the field on Sunday for the remainder of round three and the start of the fourth round.

Former world number one McIlroy and four-time major champion Koepka are tied for second and lurking at 11 under.

McIlroy – winner of the FedEx Cup in 2016 – was one over after five holes, while Koepka made it to two over before the weather hit.

Koepka earned a one-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the tournament on Friday, but the world number one made sloppy start to Saturday's play following two bogeys in three holes.

Xander Schauffele (through five) sits in solo fourth at 10 under, a shot clear of Chez Reavie (through seven) and Paul Casey (through six).

Dustin Johnson managed to finish his third round, but the American star carded a forgettable five-over-par 75 to be seven over and 29th in the 30-man field.

Six fans were injured by lightning strikes after the third round of the Tour Championship at East Lake was suspended due to inclement weather.

Thunderstorms in the area of the course in DeKalb County, Georgia disrupted play on Friday and Saturday.

The PGA Tour confirmed on Saturday that a pair of lightning strikes had left spectators injured. However, their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

A statement read: "At 4:17 p.m. [local time], the third round of the Tour Championship was suspended due to inclement weather in the area.

"At 4:45 p.m., there were two lightning strikes at East Lake Golf Club; a tree near the range/15 green/16 tee was hit, and debris from that strike injured four people.

"EMT tended to those fans and two others immediately and transported them from the property via ambulance for further medical attention. Our latest report is that their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.

"Due to these circumstances, the third round has been suspended for the day and play will resume on Sunday at 8:00 a.m. ET.

"The safety of our fans, players and partners is of the utmost importance. We will provide further updates as they become available."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.