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“The first two days there were too many bogeys and double bogeys,” Schwartzel said. “I managed to prevent those.”

He did a much better job on the last four holes, one of the toughest finishing stretches in major championship history. After playing those holes at a combined 5 over the first two rounds, Schwartzel was 1 under Saturday _ making a birdie at the 15th, taking advantage of a par-3 hole that was moved up to 223 yards, and closing with three straight pars.

“Some of the toughest holes I’ve played,” he said. “Those last four holes are going to decide this golf tournament.”

Furyk wouldn’t argue with that, especially with the way he staggered to the end.

Maybe it was only appropriate. He hasn’t finished higher than ninth this year, had missed the cut in five of nine events before Atlanta and is down to 25th in the world rankings.

Furyk’s slide caught everyone off guard, given that he was coming off a 2010 season with a career-best three victories, including the year-ending Tour Championship.

At least he’s closer to the PGA lead than Rory McIlroy.

The U.S. Open champion came into Atlanta as the favorite, but his hopes of winning a second major as a 22-year-old were largely snuffed out on his third hole of the week, when he foolishly chose to strike a shot off a tree root and injured his right wrist.

McIlroy played on, coming into Saturday eight shots off the lead and still believing he could contend.

Those hopes are over after a 74 left him 14 shots behind Steele and Dufner.

“It was another frustrating day,” McIlroy said. “I need something really good to finish in the top 20 or top 30. I want to try and do that.”


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