Johns Creek, GA – Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - There a couple of names in the top 10 on the leaderboard at the PGA Championship that may not ring a bell to most people.
The man in second place after 54 holes fits that criteria. Bernd Wiesberger is making his fourth PGA Tour appearance of the year. The first was at the WGC- Accenture Match Play, and the other two were at the U.S. Open and the Open Championship.
The Austrian missed the cut in both of those championships, just as he had in two of his other three major championship starts. Wiesberger tied for 64th last year at the Open Championship in his only made cut in a major.
Wiesberger has a pair of runner-up finishes this year. He shared second at the Malaysian Open and was a playoff loser to Mikael Lundberg at the Lyoness Open.
His two European wins came in the 2012 season, but he is in position to open plenty of doors for himself with a top finish on Sunday. Wiesberger is well down on the European Ryder Cup points lists, but the PGA Championship is worth double points and he could soar into contention for that team this week.
Wiesberger made a slow climb up the leaderboard with three birdies in his first 12 holes. Then he ran off three straight birdies from the 16th to jump to 12-under par.
He was briefly in the lead, but ended the round one behind thanks to those three late birdies that totaled three feet, six inches from the hole.
"I've not been in contention in a major championship, so I don't know how it's going to turn out. I'm just trying to enjoy as I did today. I was in a great situation going into the round this afternoon and I felt quite calm," Wiesberger admitted. "I'm friends with Rory and I'm sure it's going to be a nice situation out there tomorrow again. Hopefully do the things well that I did today. From now on, it's just a bonus, really."
Another bonus for Wiesberger would be a top-4 finish. That would get him into next year's PGA Championship and the Masters, which he has never competed in before.
SCOTT'S SOLID YEAR IN THE MAJORS
Everyone has been giving kudos to Rickie Fowler for his great year in the majors, but Adam Scott isn't far behind matching Fowler's results this year.
The 2013 Masters champion, shared 14th at the Masters for his worst finish in a major this year. Scott followed that with a tie for ninth at the U.S. Open and a share of fifth at the Open Championship.
That gives Scott six top-15 finishes in the last seven majors. His tie for 45th at the U.S. Open at Merion last year was his only finish outside the top-15.
In the last three seasons, his seven top-10 finishes are one more than he had from his first major championship appearance in 2000 through the 2011 PGA Championship, where he shared seventh place.
Scott has put himself in position for another top finish thanks to a bogey- free, 5-under 67. He ended three rounds at 7-under 206, which was good for a share of 13th place.
"It was a good solid round. Obviously to have no bogeys is good. Probably left a couple out there. Seems like 4- or 5-under is about even par today," Scott said. "I'm probably too far back unless there's something special in there tomorrow. I'll certainly be trying, but I'm pretty pleased to have a bogey- free round."
* Third-round leader Rory McIlroy has broken par in 11 of his 15 rounds in major championships this year, and has a scoring average of 69.67 in those 15 rounds.
* McIlroy opened with three straight rounds in the 60s for the third time in a major. He won the other two - the 2011 U.S. Open and this year's Open Championship.
* A win on Sunday would be McIlroy's third straight title. The last player to win three in a row, or more, was Tiger Woods, who won five straight starts in 2007-08.
* The last two PGA Championships at Valhalla, 1996 and 2000, both were decided in playoffs.
* With tees moved up to make the green driveable, the par-4 fourth was the easiest hole in round three as it played to an average of 3.31 strokes. The par-5 18th has been simplest through three days as it has averaged 4.51 shots. There have been 18 eagles on No. 18 and 13 more on the rest of the course.
* For the second day in a row, the par-4 sixth was the most difficult hole as players averaged 4.34 strokes on that hole. The par-4 second has been the hardest hole through three days as it has averaged 4.39.