Published August 11, 2013
| Sports Network
Rochester, NY – Jim Furyk made two clutch putts on his final two holes Saturday en route to a 1-stroke lead after three rounds of the 95th PGA Championship.
Furyk carded his second straight 2-under 68 to end 54 holes at 9-under-par 201. He is one of two players that have three rounds in the 60s this week on the East Course at Oak Hill.
Second-round leader Jason Dufner managed a 1-over 71 to finish three rounds alone in second place at minus-8.
Henrik Stenson shot 1-under 69 to end three days at 7-under-par 203. He joined Furyk as the other player with three rounds in the 60s this week. Stenson will play with countryman Jonas Blixt in the final round. Blixt posted a 4- under 66 to get through 54 holes at 6-under 204.
Steve Stricker (70) and Adam Scott (72) share fifth place at minus-5, while defending champion Rory McIlroy (67) and Lee Westwood (68) are tied for seventh at 3-under 207.
Four-time winner Tiger Woods tripped to a 3-over 73 to end three rounds at plus-4, while Phil Mickelson struggled to a 78, which left him in next-to-last place at 10-over-par 220.
Furyk heads to the final round with the lead, but there are a couple facts going against him. He has won just 9-of-21 times in which he had at least a piece of the 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour, and in the season's first three majors, the winner has come from outside the final pairing.
"I know I'm going to the media room and someone's going to mention I'm 43 and that I'm old, and that how many more chances am I going to have. It's been so negative in there all week anyway, I'm kind of waiting for it and will have some fun with it," Furyk stated. "I'm not in the grave yet and I'm going to have more opportunities ahead of me in my mind, and tomorrow is an opportunity that's exactly the way I'm viewing it. I'm going to have fun with it and enjoy the opportunity."
Dufner started the third round with the lead and he carded four pars, and a double bogey at the fifth, in his first six holes. He rolled in a 12-footer for birdie at seven to briefly go two clear, but Furyk had an answer.
Furyk bogeyed two and three, but bounced back with a birdie on the fourth. He sank a 7-footer for birdie at eight to move within one of Dufner's lead.
Dufner then 3-putted for bogey on eight to slip into a share of the lead with Furyk. Around the turn, Furyk drained a 12-foot birdie effort at 10 to briefly grab the lead. Dufner answered with an 18-footer for birdie on No. 10.
Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, poured in a 22-foot birdie chance at 12 to move to minus-9, where he was one clear of Dufner. Furyk found sand off the tee at the 15th and that led to a bogey.
After a par on 16, Furyk ran home a 15-foot birdie try at 17 to regain the lead. He hit a poor drive on 18, then played his second down the fairway. Furyk pitched his third to 13 feet. He converted that to save par and take a 1-stroke lead into the final round.
"Obviously, nice way to cap off the day. I hit a poor 3-wood off the tee (at 18), to say the least, but was able to kind of laugh it off. Was happy to see the ball was in the second cut of rough, where I had a decent lie and just kind of wedge it out there," Furyk said. "I knew where the pin was. I knew I could bring it off that slope and hopefully get the third shot close and was a little disappointed to see it spun more than I wanted it to off the front fringe. But it was nice to knock that putt in and knock the one in on 17 for birdie. So good finish to the day."
Dufner closed his round with eight pars in a row. He had several birdie chances in that span, but failed to convert. Dufner's best putt in that stretch was at 15, where he ran his birdie try 10 feet by the hole, but made the comebacker to save par.
"The wind picked up a little bit, which made club selection a little difficult. It came out of the northwest, which we hadn't seen in a few days, and that threw you for a loop at some holes. But, I hung in there. It could have gone sideways there after the fifth hole," Dufner explained. "I put it together. I played pretty good on the back nine. I had a couple looks that I wish I had made a little bit better run at. Fortunate to have a ball on 18 to sneak in the back side of the cup and go in for a par. I'm in a good position in the last group."
NOTES: Furyk blew all four 54-hole leads in 2012, including at the U.S. Open and WGC - Bridgestone Invitational ... International players have won four of the last five PGA Championships ... If Scott rallies to win, he will join Jack Nicklaus, Jack Burke, Jr. and Sam Snead as the only players to win the Masters and the PGA Championship in the same year ... Eighteen of the last 20 major championships have been won by different players and 14 of the last 18 majors have been won by first-time major champions.