Elkington Must Wait to Celebration


2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Steve Elkington's chance at a big anniversary celebration will have to wait an extra day.
The 1995 PGA champion was on the 16th tee Sunday -- and one shot behind leader Phil Mickelson -- when thunderstorms in the area forced suspension of play in this year's PGA Championship.
The chance at a second career major title suddenly had an overnight delay, and that wasn't all bad.
Steve Elkington
Steve Elkington, the 1995 PGA champion, is tied with Thomas Bjorn, just one back of Phil Mickelson.
``I didn't want to play the last three holes into the wind,'' he said. ``Something like this is the luck of the draw, the rub of the green you might say.''
Elkington was two shots behind co-leaders Mickelson and Davis Love III when the final round started at the 7,392-yard, par-70 Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club. His 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 9th -- his first non-par of the round -- lifted him into a tie for the lead with Mickelson at 5 under.
He gave the shot back with a bogey on the par-4 10th when he mishit a chip, but he chipped in for birdie on the par-4 11th.
``It was one in 500,'' he said of the birdie chip, ``a 500-to-1 shot.''
He was tied at 3-under with Thomas Bjorn, who was on 15, while Mickelson was facing a short putt for par on 14 when the second delay of the day was called.
With course conditions getting tougher because of the wind and temperatures around 100 degrees drying out the greens, Elkington bogeyed Nos. 13 and 15. The siren sounded when he was waiting on the tee at the par-3 16th. The last two holes at Baltusrol are the only par-5s on the course.
``I'll be the first guy going through those three holes and it's my job to get a birdie or two,'' Elkington said. ``It's a shame we didn't get to finish. It was a bit of a to and fro among three or four players out there. It's a shame the crowd didn't get to see the finish.''
The clubhouse leader was Tiger Woods at 2-under 278.
``I'll be the first of the leaders with a chance to post a score better than Tiger's and hopefully it will be 5-under,'' Elkington said.
He was well aware of the leaderboard.
``Of course,'' he said. ``This is no different than a basketball game. You have to know what the score is.''
If the 42-year-old Elkington were to find a way to win Monday, he would be the fourth-oldest winner, and his 10-year gap between PGA titles would tie Lee Trevino and Gary Player for second place behind Raymond Floyd, who went 13 years.
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