The dark clouds rumbled up to Kiawah Island from the southwest yesterday afternoon, uncompromising and unstoppable, and sent golfers and galleries alike scampering for cover.

Play was suspended during the third round of the 2012 PGA Championship, with most of the leading pack no more than halfway through the third round, and play will resume at 7:45 this morning (US Eastern time).

“Unfortunately the weather gods turned against us today,” said Kerry Haigh, managing director of championships for the PGA of America. “We had lightning very close by, and obviously some heavy rain… but the forecast for tomorrow is very positive.”

The third round of the PGA Championship could not be poised with more intrigue. Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott were both on a roll as the storm clouds arrived, having both just completed the front nine in 32, four under par. Northern Ireland’s McIlroy shared the lead with Vijay Singh on six under par overall, after Singh had birdied the first and seventh holes to keep pace. Scott occupied third place alone, a shot ahead of Sweden’s Carl Pettersson.

“It was a great start,” started McIlroy under the cover of the media centre at Kiawah Island, as the rain rapidly flooded much of the Ocean Course. “Four-under par through nine holes is a great position to be in. I definitely don’t mind the delay. It’s nice going into the final day in this position and I don’t mind if it takes a while to get it done.”

Americans Bo Van Pelt and Steve Stricker were also among a select group of players to have reached the turn in 32, to rise into the top-10 on the leaderboard, whereas their compatriot Tiger Woods suffered from contrasting fortunes, dropping three shots in his first seven holes to slip five shots behind playing partner Singh.

Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, official car of the 2012 PGA Championship