Furyk shoots 68, takes 54-hole lead at PGA


With sunny skies finally opening in Rochester, Oak Hill Country Club turned into the difficult test that many anticipated heading into this week. Here's how things shape up heading into the final round of the PGA Championship, where Jim Furyk holds a 54-hole lead in search of his second career major title:

Leaderboard: Jim Furyk (-9), Jason Dufner (-8), Henrik Stenson (-7), Jonas Blixt (-6), Adam Scott (-5), Steve Stricker (-5), Rory McIlroy (-3), Lee Westwood (-3)

What it means: After Dufner briefly built a three-shot lead early in the afternoon, a double bogey from the overnight leader at the fifth hole let a host of players back into the mix. The leaderboard shifted constantly down the stretch Saturday among Dufner, Furyk, Scott and Stenson, but it was Furyk who emerged thanks to a birdie at the 17th hole. A lengthy par save at the home hole ensured that the 2003 U.S. Open champ will take the lead into Sunday, in search of his first major title since his triumph at Olympia Fields a decade ago.

Round of the day: Playing hours before the leaders teed off, Dustin Johnson surged into contention thanks to a 5-under 65 in the third round. A winner earlier this year at Kapalua, Johnson made the turn in 1-under 34 before adding birdies at Nos. 10, 13, 14 and 16. The effort moved him from 3 over for the week to 2 under, a jump of 51 spots on the leaderboard as he will now start the final round tied for ninth.

Best of the rest: Though he already has two PGA Tour wins under his belt, Blixt is playing in just his second career major championship. You wouldn’t know it Saturday, though, as the young Swede made it around Oak Hill without dropping a shot, carding a 4-under 66. In addition to bookend birdies at the first and 18th holes, Blixt added red figures at holes 5 and 9, and as a result will begin Sunday firmly in contention, just three shots off the pace.

Biggest disappointment: In completing his second round Friday, U.S. Open champion Justin Rose played the front nine at Oak Hill in just 29 strokes, He needed 13 more to play the same stretch Saturday, as an outward 42 doomed any chances the Englishman had of contending. Rose played holes 2-5 in 6 over to begin his third round, taking double bogeys at both the third and fifth holes, and didn’t record his first birdie until the 12th hole. After a 7-over 77 Saturday, Rose tumbled out of the top 10 and will head into the final round 10 shots behind Furyk.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: After blowing several Sunday leads last year, notably at the U.S. Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Furyk has a chance for redemption this time around at Oak Hill. The group chasing him is no less motivated, though, as Dufner looks to avenge his near-miss at Atlanta Athletic Club two years ago while Stenson and Blixt both hope to become the first Swede to capture one of the four major championships in men's golf.

Shot of the day: Though he appeared destined for a missed cut midway through his round Friday, defending champion Rory McIlroy needed an up and down from behind the 18th green to finish the first 54 holes at 2 under. Instead, the Ulsterman’s chip shot rolled gently down the hill and dropped for an improbable birdie, giving McIlroy a 3-under 67 Saturday and endless momentum heading into the final round, where he is suddenly once again in contention for back-to-back titles.

Quote of the day: 'There's a crowded leaderboard, so I want to go out there and fire a good number.' - Furyk, on his approach to the final round