PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Jonas Blixt, playing in just his second career major championship, carded a bogey-free 66 Saturday. Since 1991, only two players who have had such limited major championship experience have posted a bogey-free round on the weekend at a PGA Championship. Last year at Kiawah Island, while playing in his second major, Blake Adams posted a bogey-free final round; and in 2010 at Whistling Straits Jason Day, also playing in his second major, carded a bogey-free third round.
· Friday, K.J. Choi had a big jump up the leaderboard. Saturday, it was Dustin Johnson’s turn. Johnson moved up 51 places and into ninth place. His climb up the board is the third time in a PGA Championship third round someone has had a leap at least this large. In 2001, Mike Weir bettered his position by 51 spots at Landmark Golf Club, and in 1990 David Frost moved up 55 spots at Shoal Creek Golf Club.
· After three rounds, Tiger Woods stands in 48th place and Phil Mickelson in 74th. In just two other tournaments as professionals on the PGA TOUR have both Woods and Mickelson stood 48th or worse after three rounds of the event. In the 2005 PLAYERS Championship, Mickelson was 50th and Woods 71st; and at the 2002 British Open Woods was 67th and Mickelson 72nd.
Scott shot a 2-over 72 Saturday at Oak Hill. (Lecka/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- For the better part of three days, Adam Scott had done little wrong at Oak Hill.
Then came the 16th hole late Saturday afternoon.
He missed the fairway off the tee then missed the green on his approach, leaving his golf ball buried in the thick rough short of the green, then left it in the rough again. The Aussie finally pitched on then proceeded to two-putt for double bogey.
"I was grinding hard, unfortunately," Scott said. "I bit off more than I could chew at 16 and made a bad mental error. It wasn't really going my way out there with much today."
Scott managed to save par "out of nowhere" from 15 feet on the next hole, though, and finished with another one to shoot a 2-over 72 that leaves him at 5 under for the week and still within a sniff of Jim Furyk, who is four shots ahead of him.
Considering Scott's 32 putts, the deficit could have been a lot worse.
He birdied his opening hole and looked as though he might sprint from the field, only to trip himself up with bogeys on each of his next two.
Though Scott hit 10 of his next 12 greens in regulation, he either didn't give himself good looks at birdie or simply missed his chances most of the day.
His only other birdie came on the 318-yard par-4 14th, where he blasted a drive clean off the tee and onto the green. He had a 25-foot eagle putt to tie for the lead but instead two-putted.
Two holes later the deficit only grew.
Unlike in the past, however, Scott is feeling good about his game and his chances and with good reason. He won the Masters in a playoff in April and had the lead late on Sunday of The Open Championship.
"Four back is well within reach," he said. "(Phil) Mickelson ended up winning the Open by quite easily being four back. Anything can happen in a major.
"I don't think there is any pressure on me going into tomorrow at all. It's a different story if you are leading or close to it."
Stenson has finished second in each of his last two starts. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Two years ago, Henrik Stenson didn't even qualify for the PGA Championship and instead played in his club championship at Barseback in southern Sweden.
"I was up in contention there, as well (laughter)," Stenson said. "I didn't win. I was not in a good period with my golf. I was not playing great, and I ended up finishing second a shot back. So I guess it's not something that will stand out as a highlight on my C.V."
It was also the first of four majors Stenson would miss from the end of 2011 to the end of 2012.
"It's nice to be here," Stenson said of Oak Hill. "I think I should be at the majors, rather than my club championship. I'm a bit more pleased with my play here."
He has reason to be.
Stenson shot a 69 Saturday and enters the final round of the PGA Championship just two strokes off the lead.
No Swede has ever won a major championship, but Stenson has been knocking on the door and knocking down flags.
The 37-year-old finished second in each of his last two starts, at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and at The Open Championship.
Earlier this year, he also finished second in Houston, and he was fifth at THE PLAYERS Championship.
Through three rounds at Oak Hill, he's been under par every day, including Saturday when he made three birdies and just two bogeys on the most difficult day of scoring yet.
"Golf is definitely a whole lot more fun than it was, you know, back in 2011," Stenson said. "It's more fun to show up at the races with a good gear box and a good set of tires.
"Everybody disappears for a little while and comes back. It's good to be back playing good golf at these big events in the middle of the summer.
Jonas Blixt's tee shot on the 18th landed in the pocket of fan Muhammad Khokhar. (Cannon/Getty Images)
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Jim Furyk spent a frustrating Friday trying to find the rhythm of his golf swing and it still wasn’t with him as he teed off Saturday in the third round of the PGA Championship. A utility wood off the first tee found the rough and Furyk followed that up with a double cross at the third but things changed at the fourth.
Furyk always follows up a bad swing with immediate practice swings and the rhythm returned on the fourth hole. From that point of the round forward, Furyk was a dangerous golfer, culminating on the 53rd hole.
The 17th hole was one mean par 4 and it took Furyk to tame it. He sank a 17-foot birdie putt on the toughest hole at Oak Hill to take a one-stroke lead into the final round.
The 485-yard hole gave up just seven birdies the entire day while playing to a stroke average of 4.427. Of the 75 golfers to play the hole, 34 made par, 34 made bogey or worse and Furyk was one of the seven with a birdie.
Conditions: Golf courses are laid out to be played with the prevailing wind. At Oak Hill that means out of the west. So, when the wind gusted out of the northwest in the third round, it was a puzzle golfers struggled to solve. The wind swirled through the tree tops, making it very difficult pull a club. Golfers had to understand, bogeys were going to be made and that was just part of the examination.
Blixt's wayward tee shot: Jonas Blixt knew he hit a bad drive off the 18th tee but he had no idea just how bad the shot really was. The ball flew directly into the back pocket of a spectator. Muhammad Khokhar had the ball lodge right next to his wallet in his back right pocket. When Blixt arrived, there was discussion as to who should remove the ball. Blixt was naturally hesitant to reach into Khokhar’s pocket and the former Florida State golfer giggled with the gallery until a rules official instructed Khokhar to take the ball out of his own pocket. Blixt identified it as his drive and was granted a free drop. Blixt proceeded to hit a 205-yard 5-iron to within 3 feet of the cup and birdie the 18th to finish 6 under.
Hole location: The tees at the 15th hole were moved up so the par 3 measured a manageable 179 yards but the hole location was extremely difficult. The cup was cut 31 paces onto the green and just seven off the right side. As the leaders came through, it was tough to even see the flagstick that was encased in late afternoon shadows. The hole played to a stoke average of 3.280 and was the fourth-most difficult hole on the course. It yielded just seven birdies to the 75 golfers.
Short game: Rory McIlroy went from being in danger of missing the cut on Friday afternoon to the fringes of contention by Saturday night. McIlroy birdied four of his last seven holes in the second round to finish 36 holes at even par and then shot 67 in the third round thanks to a pair of unlikely birdies at both the 17th and 18th holes. McIlroy’s short game has been sharp. He has a total of 83 putts in 54 holes with just 25 coming in the third round.
Momentum swing: Nobody had a greater disparity in score than Justin Rose. He finished off his second round with an inward 29. Rose played the same nine-hole stretch in the third round and shot 42. His misery included a pair of doubles and four bogeys without a birdie. That’s a 13-shot swing.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- As the third round of the 95th PGA Championship winds to a conclusion, Jim Furyk and Jason Dufner continue to set the pace at Oak Hill.
Both are 8 under. Furyk has two holes remaining while Dufner has three. Henrik Stenson and Adam Scott are tied at 7 under through 16 and 15 holes, respectively.
Jonas Blixt is finished at 6 under thanks to a bogey-free 66.
Following are key developments in the final round:
6:25 p.m. ET: Steve Stricker misses a 20-footer for birdie at the 18th hole. He taps in and finishes with a round of even-par 70 and will start the final round at 5 under.
6:30 p.m. ET: After hitting three shots from the deep rough at the 16th hole, Adam Scott two-putts from 18 feet for a double bogey that drops him to 5 under.
6:31 p.m. ET: Jim Furyk has just taken the lead with a 15-footer for birdie at the 17th hole, which has been the hardest this week. He's 9 under for the tournament as he seeks what would be his second major championship.
6:33 p.m. ET: Henrik Stenson two-putts from long-distance at the 18th hole to finish off a 69 that leaves the Swede at 7 under for the tournament.
6:45 p.m. ET: Adam Scott finds the rough again at the 17th hole. He manages to hit the green with his third shot, though, and has a 15-footer -- on a similar line to Furyk's -- that he makes for a clutch par.
6:46 p.m. ET: Jason Dufner misses a 28-footer for birdie at the the 17th hole that would have pulled him into a tie with Furyk. He makes the par putt, though, and heads to the 18th.
6:47 p.m. ET: Jim Furyk misses the fairway at the 18th hole and lays up short of the green. His wedge from 90 yards lands past the hole and spins back into the front fringe. He makes the 12-footer to save par and a round of 68.
6:59 p.m. ET: Scott finds the fairway with his drive but Dufner's veers right and settles into the deep stuff. He manages to put his second shot about 100 yards short of the green while Scott's second settles pin high about 20 feet away from birdie.
Dufner hits his third shot past the pin and the ball spins back to 8 feet. Scott misses his birdie putt and ends up shooting 72 to finish at 5 under. Dufner's par putt falls in at the last minute so he finishes with a 71 and at 8 under will join Furyk in Sunday's final group.
The first three major champions of 2013 have all come from outside the final pairing.
Westwood shot 68 Saturday and is 3 under with one round to go at Oak Hill. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- No active player has more starts in a major -- 61 -- without a victoy in one than Lee Westwood.
Not that he hasn't had his chances.
Sixteen times Westwood has finished in the top 10 in a major. Half of them have been finishes in the top 3, including just last month when he tied for third at The Open Championship.
Saturday at Oak Hill he put himself in position again, shooting a 2-under 68 on a windy, difficult day of scoring at Oak Hill. Westwood is 3 under and inside the top 10 on the leaderboard.
"I can't say I wasn't delighted to see a bit of a breeze blowing this morning," Westwood said. "I didn't want to go out throwing darts out there again. I wanted it to have some teeth to it really."
He got his wish.
With the breeze increasing throughout the day, players who went out early leapfrogged up the leaderboard with every birdie. Westwood made five of them -- and three bogeys -- to climb nearly 20 spots.
The Englishman, who recently began working with coach Sean Foley, had an impressive day of ball-striking, hitting 15 greens in regulation.
And though his score wasn't quite good enough to put him in the lead, the way he was at Muirfield three weeks ago, Westwood is in a good place.
"You saw what happened when I had the lead in the last major and Phil (Mickelson) was four, five behind," Westwood. "So anything is possible on the Sunday of a major."
Jonas Blixt, who won The Greenbrier Classic, carded a bogey-free 66 to move into the mix at the PGA.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Playing the ball as it lies didn't apply to Jonas Blixt on Saturday, at least not after his tee shot on the 18th hole at Oak Hill landed in a fan's back pocket.
Blixt was given relief, hit his approach to 3 feet and made birdie to cap a bogey-free 66 that vaulted him into contention with one round to go in the PGA Championship.
No Swede has ever won a major championship.
"That would be huge," said Blixt, who is 6 under for the week. "It's a very small country. There's a lot of golfers from there. You set up your goals high and that's a very high goal for both me and Henrik. To win one would be very, very special."
So was his play on a breezy afternoon. Blixt made four birdies and took just 25 putts.
As for the shot that landed in the fan's pocket?
"He's doing well to catch that on the fly in his back pocket," joked Lee Westwood, who played alongside Blixt. "I think the Yankees ought to sign him up."
As for Blixt, he couldn't help but laugh, either, adding, "I was just glad it wasn't plugged."
Rory McIlroy is looking for his third major championship. (Canon/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Don't look now but Rory McIlroy is back in the hunt at the PGA Championship.
The defending champion closed with two straight birdies in a round of 67 on Saturday that lifted McIlroy to 3 under and into the top 10 on the rapidly-changing leaderboard. That jump of 21 spots could hardly have come at a better time for the young man looking for his first victory of the season.
McIlroy showed a flair for the dramatic when he drained a long putt at the 17th hole and then chipped in from behind the green at No. 18. The 24-year-old Northern Irishman, who says he's been trying to enjoy the game more of late, followed that ball into the hole with a big grin and a series of subtle fist pumps.
"I couldn't have pitched a more perfect pitch," McIlroy said.
The 17th was playing as the hardest hole in the third round when McIlroy finished while the 18th, which was into the prevailing wind, was the fifth most difficult. So the birdies were particularly well-earned.
"I probably made up at least three, three-and-a-half shots on those last two holes," McIlroy said. He later added that a birdie at the 17th, a demanding 509-yard par 4, actually felt more like an eagle.
The round of 67, which included four birdies and a lone bogey, was a huge confidence-boost for McIlroy. He had to battle to make the cut on Friday after playing his first nine holes in 39 and finding himself 4 over for the tournament at the turn.
"To play like that on this golf course and do what I needed to do yesterday just to make the cut, and then to go out and play the way I did today, yeah, it's been a good stretch of holes," McIlroy said. "I've got another 18 to play, and hopefully I can just keep playing the way I am."
McIlroy said he expected Oak Hill to be set up tougher on Saturday -- and he knew the wind swirling through the oaks was going to be a challenge. But he drew strength from his win at the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship where he made the cut on the number and then shot 66-62 to earn the victory.
"It gives me a bit confidence knowing that I've been in that position before and I've been able to win," McIlroy said. "I know this is a major championship and it's a bit different, but I felt good enough about my game that I could go out there and post a good one today and at least give myself a chance going into tomorrow."
McIlroy, who has yet to win on either side of the Atlantic this year, said he began to see progress last week at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational where he tied for 27th. On Saturday at Oak Hill he hit half his fairways and 10 greens in regulation while using 25 well-timed putts.
"My short game has been really, really good," McIlroy said. "It was just a matter of trying to get a long game in shape. I wouldn't say that that was my best ball-striking round out there by any means, but I got it up and down when I needed to and that was the most important thing."
Tiger Woods has five wins on the PGA TOUR this year. (Franklin/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- The takeaway is not quite right. So Tiger Woods is not playing like the same man who won the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational by a whopping seven strokes last week.
Woods, who threatened golf's magical 59 at Firestone Country Club eight days ago, failed to break par for the second time in three rounds at the PGA Championship. His 73 at Oak Hill on Saturday left Woods 4 over for the tournament and in a distant tie for 51st.
"Sean (Foley) and I were trying to work on it last night," Woods said. "I just haven't got my takeaway right; it's off. Consequently the whole patterning is off. Just one of those weeks where it's just a fraction off, and a fraction off on a setup like this, it's going to cost me."
Woods, who has five PGA TOUR wins this year but hasn't added to his 14 majors since the 2008 U.S. Open, only hit five fairways on Saturday and just 11 greens in regulation. He used 32 putts for the second straight day, as wwell.
"I didn't play very well today," Woods said. "I didn't hit it very good, didn't make anything, kept blocking every putt. So it was a tough day."
The tone for Woods' day was set early, too, when he bogeyed two of his first three holes. He made his lone birdie at the 11th, then closed off the disappointing day with bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17.
"I didn't start off very good and I didn't finish very good," Woods said. "So the bookends weren't very good and in the middle part I was grinding just to kind of hang in there around par."
Not a good combination at all.
"That's golf," Woods said philosphically. "We don't play well every week."