Jim Furyk leads PGA, but many have a shot
BY HERB GOULD Staff Reporter August 10, 2013 10:22PM
PGA Championship - Round Three
AT A GLANCE
Site: Oak Hill Country Club, Pittsford, N.Y.
Leading: Jim Furyk, who shot a 2-under 68 and is 9 under.
Pursuing: Second-round leader Jason Dufner, who is one shot back.
Tiger watch: Tiger Woods shot an even-par 73 and continued to lose ground. He trails the leader by 13 strokes.
Key statistic: Twenty players were under par. In five previous majors at Oak Hill, only nine players finished in the red (Jack Nicklaus twice).
Notable: On “Moving Day,” Dustin Johnson made the biggest with a 65, climbing 51 spots. Hunter Mahan shot a 78 and fell 48 spots.
Quotable: “Fire a good number and hope it stacks up well.” — Furyk (below), on his plans for the final round
TV: Sunday, 10 a.m.
to 1 p.m., TNT; 1 p.m.
to 6 p.m., Ch. 2.
Full scores, Sunday tee times, Page 46.
Updated: September 12, 2013 6:55AM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Nobody has this PGA in their hip pocket heading into the final round of the season’s final major.
But Jonas Blixt landed his drive on No. 18 in the back pocket of a spectator.
“I didn’t have to play it from there,’’ said Blixt, who took a drop, then hit a dazzling 5-iron to three feet for birdie.
That unusual finish capped a 66 that put the sassy Blixt among a large contingent of players who will be chasing leader Jim Furyk at Oak Hill.
“Did it plug?’’ Blixt quipped. “A friend of my father hit someone in the [butt] one day. The first thing that came out of his mouth was, ‘Did it plug?’ That’s where I got the line from.’’
Blixt, 29, who is three shots behind Furyk, is one of two Swedes among the half-dozen players who will be at the center of what should be a wild shootout of a finish.
The other golfer trying to give Sweden its first major champion is Henrik Stenson (69, 7-under). He’s third, two shots behind Furyk (68, 9-under), who delivered a clutch par-saving putt on the 18th hole. That kept Furyk one shot ahead of 36-hole leader Jason Dufner, who is 8 under after a 1-over-par 71.
Blixt is fourth at 6 under. Steve Stricker (70) and Adam Scott (72) are tied for fifth.
If the leaders go backward, any number of other players could enter an already murky picture. Expect the unexpected. Of the last 19 54-hole leaders in majors, only four have gone on to win.
With shots likely to be fired all over the golf course, the player who hoists the Wanamaker Trophy is likely to be the one who can muster the composure to play his best game.
Furyk, who blew a late lead at the 2012 U.S. Open, and Dufner, who blew a late lead at the 2011 PGA, both said they’re planning to keep their cool on Sunday.
“I’ve been relaxed this week, felt very calm out there,’’ Furyk said. “Even when I have hit bad shots, I really haven’t let it bother me. That’s why I was able to come back from a bad start today and turn it into a good round.’’
Given the way he is playing, it wouldn’t be surprising if Furyk, who won the 2003 U.S. Open at south suburban Olympia Fields, adds a second major championship to his resume.
But Dufner, who’s shooting for his first major title, said he’ll draw from the experience of blowing a five-shot in the PGA at Atlanta two years ago.
The key, he said, is patience.
“There’s a lot of guys that have a chance to win this tomorrow,’’ Dufner said. “Guys are going to make bogeys. Guys are going to make birdies. You don’t have to play perfect to win these events. You’d like to play perfect, but I just think patience is of the utmost importance on Sunday in a major. You’re never really out of it.’’