• US PGA Championship, 3rd Round

Furyk shines on see-saw day

ESPN staff
August 10, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Jim Furyk attacks the fourth hole © AP
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Jim Furyk remained calm on a topsy-turvey day to take a one-shot lead over Jason Dufner into the final round of the US PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

While the sun shone the wind also blew and player after player said it was a major problem for them. The lead changed hands several times as the leading pack struggled to find any form early on. It made for compelling viewing.

Furyk shot a two-under 68 - that contained a heady mix of birdies and bogeys - to end the day on nine under. He will be aware - he was reminded enough in interviews - that he led the 2012 US Open after three rounds only to fall away on the last day.

But an excellent birdie putt at the 17th gave him the outright lead for the second time, and a superb long putt to save par at the 18th sent him to the clubhouse with the roar of the vocal crowd ringing in his ears.

Rory's rousing finish

Rory McIlroy lines up a putt © AP
  • The fist pumps returned, and so did the smiles. It seems forever ago that Rory McIlroy appeared so engaged on a golf course, and he was certainly an interested spectator after his 67 jumped him up the leaderboard on Saturday, others left to struggle on a suddenly difficult Oak Hill Country Club.

    Defending his PGA Championship this week, McIlroy actually gave himself an outside chance to repeat on Sunday with a rousing finish that had him pumped up and wondering where such vibes had gone through a mostly disappointing year. "It was good to feel the sort of rush again,'' he said.

    That has certainly been absent in a winless year that has seen him miss four cuts, endure a controversial withdrawal, post four top-10s but not really contend since a runner-up finish in April at the Texas Open.

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Dufner remained implacable throughout, his steely resolve tested by a double bogey on the sixth, but he hung in there and will partner Furyk after his putt on the 18th slipped in after hanging on the back of the hole.

Adam Scott wobbled early on but then watched putt after putt slip inches wide of various holes. He still seemed good to be within sniffing distance of the leaders until he made a dreadful mess of the 16th which he double bogeyed. At five under he was joined by the 46-year-old Steve Stricker.

Sweden's Henrik Stenson finished on seven under while fellow countryman Jonas Blixt stole the show early on - his 64 earned him outright fourth. He had a stroke of luck on the 18th when his drive landed in the pocket of a spectator.

Two of the British contenders had good days to end three under. Lee Westwood returned a 68 which contained five birdies and three bogeys while Rory McIlroy birdied the last two holes to give himself a real chance of being in the mix on the last day.

But Justin Rose, who started well placed at six under, dropped six shots in the first five holes and although he did manage to rally his round of seven over ended his challenge.

Tiger Woods' fan club had little to cheer as their man bogeyed two of the first three holes and thereafter looked out of sorts and, by the end, wanting to be somewhere else.

At least his round was better than that of Phil Mickelson who kept smiling - mostly - despite shooting a 78.

Jonas Blixt talks with spectator Muhammad Khokhar after his shot on the 18th had landed in his pocket © Getty Images
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