LOUISVILLE, Ky. – While you were watching the slugfest among Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler and eventual champion Rory McIlroy down the stretch Sunday at Valhalla, there was plenty of good golf being played in the groups ahead.
Ernie Els and Jimmy Walker played together, shooting matching 6-under 65s, good enough to share round-of-the-day honors. They finished T-7 with Victor Dubuisson (66), Hunter Mahan (67), Steve Stricker (68) and Mikko Ilonen (69).
“Ernie and I, we started feeding off each other, hitting good shots, kind of playing top this and top that. We got a nice little roll going,” said Walker.
Jim Furyk, who has been knocking on victory’s door all year, carded an early 5-under 66, and felt good about his game after closing with a birdie, but seemed to know with the conditions that his 12-under total wouldn’t hold up.
“As many birdies as they're making, it's not going to be near enough. Just keep hearing roars out there,” said Furyk, who eventually tied for fifth. “You look at the guys up there high in the lead, most of them are really long hitters. I really felt I got a lot out of my game this week. I thought I was real patient. For as long as a golf course played, I feel like I played a pretty good tournament.”
Mahan and Brandt Snedeker (T-13), two guys who needed to show Tom Watson something to warrant a captain’s pick heading into the Ryder Cup, may have done just that, shooting matching 67s to make a late push up the leaderboard.
“I played great all day. Started out nice. Hit a lot of really good shots,” said Mahan. “I was patient and I stayed focused on what was in front of me and just kept plugging away.”