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2013 PGA Championship: Jim Furyk takes one-shot lead into final round
Stenson, a runner-up at the British Open three weeks ago, dropped only one shot over the last 16 holes and ran in a pair of 12-foot birdie putts for a 69 and was two shots behind. Sweden’s odds of winning a major have never been this high. Stenson will play in the penultimate group with Jonas Blixt, who had a 66.
The surprise was Scott, who was poised to seize control at any moment.
Scott blasted a driver on the uphill, 318-yard 14th hole that was so pure he snatched his tee from the ground as the ball was still rising. It stopped 25 feet below the cup, and he had an eagle putt to tie for the lead. The Australian two-putted for birdie, and two holes later fell back with a double bogey on the 16th. Scott escaped further damage with a 15-foot par save on the 17th and managed a 72. He was four shots behind, along with Steve Stricker, who had a 70.
Those were the only five players within five shots of the lead.
Still with an outside chance was Rory McIlroy, who came to life with three birdies over his last six holes for a 67. McIlroy, trying to join Tiger Woods as the only repeat winners of the PGA in the stroke-play era, knocked in a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th and then showed more emotion than he has all year when he chipped in for birdie on the 18th.
“It was good to feel the sort of rush again,” McIlroy said.
He was at 3 under, still six shots behind.
Woods, meanwhile, will have to wait eight more months to end his drought in the majors. He opened with two bogeys in three holes and shot a 73 to fall 13 shots behind. It was a shocking performance from the world’s No. 1 player, mainly because he was coming off a seven-shot win at Firestone that included a 61.
Woods has made only seven birdies in 54 holes — four of them on par 3s.
No one looked terribly comfortable at the start, not with the swirling wind and water hazard that winds its way along the front nine.
U.S. Open champion Justin Rose fell apart early with back-to-back double bogeys that sent him to a 42. He wound up with a 77. Scott opened with a 20-foot birdie putt, only to follow with back-to-back bogeys. And when Dufner ended his string of pars by driving into the creek on No. 5 for double bogey, it appeared that this tournament was wide open. The leaders steadied themselves, leaving the title Sunday it still up for grabs but likely among fewer players.
Scott knows as well as anyone how unpredictable a final round can be.
He was four shots up with four holes to play at the British Open last year and watched Ernie Els win the claret jug. At Muirfield last month, Mickelson came from five shots behind on the final day and won by three.
“I would like to be leading,” Scott said. “Four back is well within reach. Anything can happen in a major. We just saw the pin spots get tough today, and scoring in the final groups was very difficult. With so much danger around, it’s hard to be completely free where major pressure is on the line. Tomorrow is going to be similar.”
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
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