Jim Furyk shot a two-under-par 68 on Saturday in the third round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y, and will take a one-shot lead over Jason Dufner into the final round.
Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, is at nine under 201. A pair of Swedes, Henrik Stenson (seven under) and Jonas Blixt (six under) are close behind.
Furyk dropped a shot at the par-three 15th, lipping out his par putt after driving into the sand to fall to eight under, and it seemed he might lose the lead. But a hole behind him, second-round leader Dufner was having his own troubles and had to sink a 12-footer for par.
Masters champion Adam Scott “settled” for a birdie after driving the 323-yard, par-four 14th to get to even par in the third round and a shot behind Furyk and Dufner.
But Scott double bogeyed the 16th hole just after Furyk took the lead with a birdie on the 509-yard 17th, only the seventh birdie of the day on that hole. Furyk’s birdie putt was about 12 feet. Scott’s six dropped him into a tie for fifth with Steve Stricker at five under.
Scott’s drive on the 17th was into the deep, thick rough. His second shot came out to the fairway, though, and Scott ended up with a par-saving 15-foot putt.'
Dufner, his playing partner, started the 17th hole by driving straight down the middle. His second shot landed in the middle of the green.
On the final hole, Furyk’s drive also landed in the deep rough. His second shot was a safe stab onto the fairway, about 90 feet from the hole. His approach had so much spin that it landed on the green about 15 feet above the hole and finished about 12 feet below it.
The par putt dropped and the understated Furyk did a little fist-pump action after that save.
“It’s big,” Furyk said. “This week I haven’t let too much bother me. It was a nice way to finish the day.”
Furyk said his plan for Sunday was just to “go out and hit. It’s a crowded leaderboard.”
Stenson, who finished with a one-under 69 Saturday, said, “A lot of hard work has gone into this but nothing is easy in this world. You get nothing for free in this game. My 69 today, I’m happy with it.”
On the final hole, Dufner’s drive was low and ugly, whichi caused Dufner to drop his driver angrily on the tee box. He punched his second shot onto the fairway to leave himself 84 yards from the hole.
Dufner’s third shot was nearly perfect, spinning the ball to within about eight feet, a makeable par putt to keep him alone in second place. Dufner almost turned his back on the putt that seemed ready to rim out. Instead it fell in and Dufner, who shot a 71, will play in Sunday’s final pairing with Furyk as he goes for his first major title.
Tiger Woods’ 73 left him with a three-day total of 214, 10 over for the tournament and in a tie for 48th place. Phil Mickelson had an eight-over 78 for a total of 220, second-worst score of those left. Only Gary Woodland, at 223, is worse.
Jim Furyk has slim lead late in round | 3:10 p.m.
Furyk’s score of 8 under par survived after a drive into the trap on the par-three No. 11. He left himself about a three-foot par putt that seemed easy for the calm Furyk.
But his lead couldn’t survive Dufner’s 15-foot birdie putt at No. 10 that tied the two at 8-under, two shots ahead of Adam Scott, Jonas Blixt and Henrik Stenson. Blixt is in the clubhouse at 6-under after a third-round 66 that moved him 12 spots up the leaderboard.
Furyk retook the lead at 9-under with a confident 15-foot uphill birdie putt at No. 12. After starting 2-over through three holes, he's now 2-under for the third round.
Steve Stricker drew to within four shots of the lead with a birdie four on the par-five 13th. Stricker, 46, has never won a major championship, coming closest at the 1998 PGA Championship when he finished second. He’s playing in only his sixth tournament this season. Stricker had said at the start of the season that he’d play about 10 times this year so he could spend more time with his family in Wisconsin.
Henrik Stenson pulled to within two shots of Furyk with a birdie on the par-five 13th. Stenson, 37, finished second to Phil Mickelson by three shots at the British Open last month. And he pulled another shot closer to the lead with a second consecutive birdie on the 14th. That put him into a tie for second with Dufner at 8-under.
But Dufner was in the process of working on a birdie on the par-five No. 13. He didn’t get that but he drove the green on the 323-yard par-four 14th.
Adam Scott, three shots behind Furyk, might get closer though. He drove further onto the par-four 14th green. Scott has about a 15-foot putt for eagle.
Jim Furyk takes lead over Jason Dufner | 2:05 p.m.
Jason Dufner’s wild adventure at the par-four fifth hole ended with a double bogey on the 428-yard hole Saturday, his third-round lead down to a shot over Adam Scott and Jim Furyk. That was his first hole worse than par in 32 holes at the PGA Championship.
Somewhere -- out of TV sight, thankfully -- at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., Dufner was probably spitting some more.
Steve Stricker drew to five-under par and within two shots of the lead with a birdie at No. 8. Lee Westwood, with a birdie at No. 14, was four-under, and defending champion Rory McIlroy birdied the 17th and 18th to get to three-under.
The crowd roared as McIlroy threw his golf ball to some lucky fan. McIlroy then went out for some practice to get ready for Sunday with a realistic shot at the title. McIlroy, who had been five-over on his second nine Friday, had a 67 for the day when scores were rising as was the wind.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson moved into a tie for second with Scott and Furyk with a birdie on the eighth hole. His was a quiet round with little attention being paid.
Jonas Blixt has 10 one-putts Saturday and is only two behind Dufner at this moment.
The moment didn’t last long as Dufner birdied the seventh to take a two-shot lead over Scott and Furyk and three over Blixt.
And then another moment, a Furyk birdie on the seventh, and he moved within a shot of Dufner.
On the eighth hole, Dufner missed a two-foot putt for par and fell into a tie for the lead with Furyk at 7-under.
The lead then changed on the 10th hole. Jim Furyk, the 43-year-old whose only major was the 2003 U.S. Open, birdied the 429-yard par-four hole to move to eight-under with a six-foot putt.
Jason Dufner finds trouble after four pars | 1:11 p.m.
And as we continue, leader Jason Dufner, after a horrible tee shot on the fifth hole, was taking a drop. This hole might be his first non-par of the third round.
Earlier, Dufner had been introducted as “Auburn, Alabama’s Jason Dufner is on the first tee.” Anyone in Auburn, Ala., know that? Because, you know, he’s not playing spring football.
Always wondered why, if you’re not from the United States, on the first tee you just hear, “From Australia, Adam Scott.” Scott, who is from Perth, blew his ball down the center of the fairway.
Jim Nantz of CBS tells us Ben Hogan always considered this first hole the most difficult in golf.
While introductions were being made on the first tee, Matt Kuchar, who tied for third at the 2012 Masters for his best finish in a major, was carding a birdie on that hole to move within a shot of leader Dufner, at 8-under par.
Justin Rose missed a long par putt on the second hole and his shoulders slumped in a tired sort of way as he dropped four shots behind the Dufner.
Jim Furyk’s purple shirt is perfect. His approach to the first green, not so much.
Scott, meanwhile, birdied No. 1 and gave an early fist pump. Whatcha got to follow up Dufner? A birdie putt that just touches the edge of the cup and turns into a par. Dufner now leads Scott and Kuchar by a shot.
The leaders are off and don’t seem nervous.
Well, except for Furyk, who bogeyed the second hole to fall three shots off the lead.
Justin Rose keeps getting in trouble. He drove 70 yards left on the par-three third. He did make it on the green but the putt will be long for par and it will also be long for bogey.
Rory McIlroy moved back under par with a birdie on the par-five 13th and when he birdied the 17th, he got to 3-under and into the conversation for the final day.
Meanwhile, Dufner started out with four consecutive pars and not a single expression change on his face.
Webb Simpson, who had a 64 on Friday, cards a triple bogey at No. 5 to go 6-over for the day.
The par-three third hole was taking its toll. Kuchar double bogeyed and fell three shots behind Dufner. We’ll let you know when Dufner’s facial muscles move.
Leader Jason Dufner, contenders on course | 11:55 a.m.
Now, maybe, “Dufnering” can go from viral to mainstream.
With Jason Dufner scheduled to tee off just before noon PDT at the PGA Championship, leading the pack at 9-under, more sports fans might get to know the Ohio golfer and the art of impersonating his laconic style.
Dufner seems to wear the same facial expression whether sinking a putt for eagle or hooking a tee shot into the trees. Earlier this year, social media circulated photos of him doing concentration exercises with grade-school kids.
One snapshot showed Dufner sitting against a wall, arms at his side, face blank. “Dufnering” was born.
This week at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., tournament officials struck the pose and fans cheered as Dufner -- showing almost no expression -- shot his way to a 63 on Friday, tying the record for lowest round in a major championship.
“I’m probably like everybody else,” he said. “But I can hide it a little better.”
Saturday’s third round will show whether he can continue to master his emotions – and his game – as the front-runner in a major. The likes of Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk are chasing just behind.
Among the earlier starters, Jonas Blixt showed signs of making a run with two birdies in the first five holes. At 4-under, the Swede was only five strokes off the lead.
“A guy playing really well here, hitting a lot of fairways, you can find yourself hitting a lot of middle and short irons into holes,” Kuchar said on Friday. “If you are hot and taking advantage of those holes, you have got a chance to really post a good number.”
Coverage shifts as leaders prepare to play | 11:22 a.m.
The PGA Championship telecast now switches from TNT to CBS for the remainder of Saturday’s third round, which means that many golf fans in Los Angeles and other major markets will be left in the dark.
The problem centers on a distribution dispute between CBS and Time Warner Cable. Last week, Time Warner pulled the network off the air in the homes of more than 1 million subscribers across Southern California.
New York and Dallas subscribers have also been effected.
“I don't think it's really our position to comment on the negotiations that CBS is having with Time Warner, other than that they have done a great job of keeping us really abreast of any developments, almost on a constant basis,” PGA of America chief executive Pete Bevacqua said earlier this week. “So we will continue to keep an eye on it.”
For those willing to spend the afternoon in front of a computer, PGA.com is scheduled to fill the gap with live video coverage beginning at 11 a.m. PDT. There is another option: Though Time Warner has blocked CBS content on the Internet service it provides, fans can take their laptops to a wifi café to watch on CBS.com.
So far on Saturday, the activity has been confined to early starters, not much movement in the vicinity of the leaderboard save for Kevin Streelman and Dustin Johnson making impressive runs to finish under par. Both would probably need a monster final round –- and some help from above -– to vie for the title.
Midday is when the real action begins at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
Dustin Johnson goes low with a 65 | 10:10 a.m.
The seven-time PGA Tour winner scorched the back nine with four birdies and a nifty par save on the final hole, climbing to 2-under through three rounds with a 65 on Saturday at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
That still leaves him well back of the leaders, but things could change as the day progresses.
Oak Hill continued to surrender some red numbers through the early portion of the third round. Kevin Streelman was playing 4-under for the day with Marc Leishman and Ken Duke almost as good.
It remains to be seen if the course will dry significantly and if the winds will continue to stiffen when Jason Dufner and the rest of the leaders tee off closer to noon Pacific time.
After his Friday round, Dufner talked about the advantage of hitting on rain-softened fairways and greens through the first 36 holes.
“For me, it felt like I could be more aggressive off the tee," Dufner said. "You can be more in attack-mode during this championship. Obviously, with the moisture on the greens, you can be very, very aggressive from the fairways.”
Tiger Woods struggles early | 9:10 a.m.
With the leaders scheduled to tee off later, all eyes shifted to Woods as he missed a par putt on the third green to drop to three-over par, a hefty dozen strokes behind leader Jason Dufner.
So this figures to be a day for the world’s top-ranked golfer to work on his game in an attempt to try to regain confidence after a string of lackluster performances in major tournaments. A tweet from PGA.com producer John Kim showed him in an impromptu training session with coach Sean Foley the night before.
Standing behind a courtesy car in the parking lot, Woods watched as Foley demonstrated proper swing technique with an umbrella.
“Obviously, I need to hit it better than I have,” Woods said after the second round. “Obviously, keep the ball below the hole so I can be aggressive with the putts.”
Oak Hill Country Club could prove a little more difficult on the weekend. Though the scoring average through the first two days was better than two-over, there were plenty of red numbers for the leaders. Saturday, however, brings drier greens and a steady northwest breeze.
“I think it should add to the challenge and the entertainment,” PGA executive Kerry Haigh said.
Third round to bring tougher test at Oak Hill | 7 a.m.
All those golfers who toyed with the layout at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., like it was a pitch-and-putt course during the first two rounds of the PGA Championship can thank the rains that softened normally treacherous fairways and greens.
Mother Nature made things easier, but the imagination of famed course architect Donald Ross -- not to mention the machinations of nearby University of Rochester -- could have the last laugh.
The course where 36-hole leader Jason Dufner and the rest of the field will tee off for Saturday’s third round is the product of historical twists and turns that date to 1901.
Back then, the club was formally incorporated on a relatively small and barren stretch of land beside the Genesee River in Western New York. Members built the place up as best they could, adding a decent clubhouse.
Then, in 1921, the university needed to expand and proposed a land swap. Not only did school administrators offer the club 355 acres of farmland -- four times the size of the original property -- they also pitched in $360,000 to help with construction.
That gave Ross enough room and money to create two 18-hole courses and, by 1926, the current version of Oak Hill opened for play. The fairways were lined with thousands of oaks, maples, evergreens and elms.
“The Almighty was the greatest landscape architect of all,” said Dr. John R. Williams, who was instrumental in planting the trees. “It was his plan to have oaks at Oak Hill.”
Those trees made for tight landing areas and Ross’ sloped greens are usually tough to read. Even after Friday’s generous second round, players warned that a drier track and more-devious pin placement could put the teeth back in Oak Hill.
And that could make for some interesting golf with Dufner only a two strokes ahead of Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk.
“We’ll have to play it by ear and see what Mother Nature has in store, see how the golf course responds,” Dufner said. “If we get some fairways a little firmer, a little fast, I’ll be changing some clubs off the tees.”
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