AKRON, Ohio – What once appeared like a runaway has turned into a tight race at Firestone Country Club. Here’s how things look after three rounds of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where Jim Furyk and Justin Rose share the lead:
Leaderboard: Jim Furyk (-9), Justin Rose (-9), Shane Lowry (-7), Bubba Watson (-5), Henrik Stenson (-5), Ian Poulter (-5), Steven Bowditch (-5)
What it means: Furyk began the day with a four-shot lead, and he maintained that advantage at the halfway point of his third round. But an even-par back nine opened the door for Rose, who caught him with a birdie barrage that tied the week’s best effort.
Round of the day: Rose started the day six shots off the pace, but he rocketed up the standings with a bogey-free 63. It was just the second bogey-free round of the week on the difficult South Course and included birdies on three of his final four holes.
Best of the rest: Bowditch made a big move early, firing a 7-under 63 to jump from over par to the heart of contention. The Aussie had eight birdies against just one bogey and now has a spot in the penultimate group as he eyes a Presidents Cup berth.
Biggest disappointment: Dustin Johnson was in a tie for second at the halfway point, but he made only one birdie against four bogeys and a double bogey en route to a 5-over 75. The stumble dropped Johnson to 1 over for the week, 10 shots off the pace.
Main storyline heading into Sunday: This remains a chance for redemption for Furyk, who has yet to win on one of his favorite courses and now will look to convert a share of the 54-hole lead after letting each of his last nine such opportunities go for naught. Already with a win to his credit this season, Rose will surely offer him a stern battle.
Shot of the day: Rose authored one final highlight on No. 18, dropping a 38-foot birdie bomb to catch Furyk at 9 under and earn a spot in the final pairing.
Quote of the day: “I guess it shows it just evens out, really.” – Rose, whose bogey-free round came after a second-round 71 that included 17 pars and a bogey.