PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- A trio of pars has enabled Jason Dufner to extend his lead to three strokes early during the third round of the PGA Championship.
Matt Kuchar and Adam Scott appeared ready to apply some pressure with birdies on the first hole. But Scott, who is playing with Dufner, has bogeyed his next two holes while Kuchar duffed a chip and doubled the par-3 third.
Jim Furyk, who was tied with Kuchar and Scott for second overnight, has also had an adventurous opening four holes -- parring the first, making bogeys at Nos. 2 and 3 and then getting a shot back with a birdie at the fourth.
Two Swedes are tied at 5 under. Jonas Blixt, who won The Greenbrier Classic earlier this summer, has played his first 12 holes in 3 under while Henrik Stenson is 1 over through five.
Dustin Johnson has won seven times on the PGA TOUR.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Dustin Johnson felt like he was playing well all week. He just hadn't scored well until Saturday.
Johnson fired a 65 in the third round that moved him 51 spots up the leaderboard and within sniffing distance of leader Jim Furyk, who is seven shots ahead.
Johnson started the day at 3 over for the tournament but was 2 under when he completed 54 holes.
"I felt like I played a lot better than my score was for the first couple of days," the lanky South Carolinian said.
"Today I hit it really well. The only bogey I made was on No. 5 and that was from the fairway. But I had a mud ball. ... Rolled the putter really well and just gave myself a lot of opportunities to make birdie."
Johnson has won seven times on the PGA TOUR, including the Hyundai Tournament of Champions earlier this year. He's had two close calls in majors, too -- the first coming at the 2010 PGA where a penalty for grounding his club in an ill-defined bunker kept him out of the playoff Martin Kaymer won and the second when he was runner-up to Darren Clarke at The Open Championship.
Whether Johnson can get into the mix again on Sunday depends on how much distance the leaders can put behind them in the third round.
"I thought it was playing pretty tough out there," Johnson said. "I played really well today, drove it well, drove it in the fairway, made some good putts. If this wind picks up, even par is a good score, I think. We'll just have to see what they do.
"Going into tomorrow, same game plan. Same thing I've been doing all week, just try to hit the fairways and get it on the green and get a look at birdie. This morning going out, the greens were perfect. So you knew if you hit good putts it was going in the hole."
Kaymer is in contention at Oak Hill after a pair of 68s the first two days. (Carr/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Three years ago, Martin Kaymer won his first career major championship and six months later ascended to No. 1 in the world, something that surprised even him.
"I was not playing like the best player on the planet," Kaymer said this week at Oak Hill. "I didn't feel like the best player. And therefore, I needed to change a few things."
Suddenly, Kaymer found himself on a slippery slope.
The German lost his No. 1 ranking just eight weeks later, missed the cut in three of his next seven majors, continued to watch his ranking slide as he tinkered with his swing and hasn't finished in the top 10 of a major since his playoff victory at Whistling Straits.
"I dropped down in the world rankings, but I didn't care about that," Kaymer admitted. "It was about the feeling that you have. If other people see you as being No. 1, but you don't see yourself as No. 1, how can you play like No. 1? That's not possible."
The feeling was gone and it took Kaymer until earlier this year to find it again. He stopped putting so much emphasis on trying to hit the ball right-to-left to fit Augusta National and was happy to be out of the spotlight.
"All of a sudden the expectations from yourself comes from the people, from the media, from the friends and the fans," he said. It's little bit of a strange situation that you need to get used to.
"You just want to play golf; that is all you want to do."
Through the first two rounds at Oak Hill, Kaymer has done it well, reaching 4 under with a pa of 68s to get within five strokes of the lead (he tees off at 2:15 p.m. ET Saturday).
It hasn't been just this week, either. Kaymer has three top 10s on the PGA TOUR and three more on the European Tour. Among them was a tie for ninth at last week's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
"My short game has become a lot better, so I'm not surprised," Kaymer said. "I'm just happy where I am and I want to become better."
To his point, he was 8-for-8 in scrambling here on Friday.
The rest of his game has improved, too.
"I'm able to hit every shot I want," Kaymer said. "I was not able to do that when I came on TOUR in 2010, 2011. Now I don't have any trouble with drawing the ball, fading the ball. That's nice."
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- The top two players in the world, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, are playing the back nine at Oak Hill right now as non-factors in the PGA Championship.
Woods continues to struggle with his putter. He has just made the turn 2 over and is 3 over for the tournament -- 12 strokes behind Jason Dufner, who tees off at 2:55 p.m. ET. The world No. 1 has made two bogeys and seven pars.
Mickelson, who won The Open Championship last month, is further down the leaderboard at 5 over for the tournament. He birdied his third hole but then bogeyed the par-5 fourth, tripled No. 7 and bogeyed No. 9 to turn in 39. He just birdied the 12th and is 3 over for the day.
Oak Hill is yielding some good scores, though, on a cool, sun-kissed and fall-like day.
Dustin Johnson started the day at 3 over but has gotten into red numbers for the week with a round of 65. He made the turn in 1 under and then got hot on the back nine, making four birdies in a seven-hole stretch and now is 2 under for the tournament.
Jim Furyk won the 2003 U.S. Open.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Jim Furyk reached the midway point of the 95th PGA Championship in two different ways.
He played extremely well on Thursday in shooting a 65 that left him tied for the lead. But Furyk had to grind out a 68 in the second round that saw him finish 36 holes at Oak Hill tied with Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar, two shots behind the red-hot Jason Dufner.
"As far as my round, (Thursday) was kind of a pretty round of golf where I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens," Furyk said. "Had a lot of opportunities, knocked some putts in, just felt good like I was in control.
"(Friday) I had to gut it out a little bit. I got the ball in the fairway pretty good for most of the round. Iron game wasn't as sharp today. It wasn't a pretty 68, but nonetheless it was a 68. Putting was real solid, picked me up out of a few holes where I made some key 5- and 6-footers there on the back nine and kept myself in the good spot in the tournament."
Furyk is one of three former major champs among the top six players on the leaderboard as the third round gets under way on Saturday. He won his U.S. Open in 2003 and has had five top-five finishes in his 40 majors since that breakthrough at Olympia Fields.
Three of those have come at the U.S. Open, most recently in the form of a tie for fourth last year at the Olympic Club. And this week, with Oak Hill's lush rough and premium on hitting fairways, many feel the PGA has U.S. Open qualities.
Furyk hasn't won since his PGA TOUR Player of the Year season in 2010. But the 43-year-old does have some momentum with ties for ninth in his last two starts as he tries to add another major to a resume that already includes 16 PGA TOUR victories.
"I'm going to have the same game plan as I've had the first two days, really worrying about what I'm doing, my game," Furyk said. "I want to get some a little better rhythm in (Saturday) morning with my irons. They weren't as crisp (Friday). I want to get some rhythm on the range in the morning and try to carry that through the round.
"It's really about trying to shoot another good round of golf and again put myself in a good position for Sunday. As far as who is on the leaderboard, I know it's exciting for y'all and it's exciting for the fans, but I've got to kind of stay in my own bubble and play my game."
Woods has failed to break par in six trips to Oak Hill for the PGA Championship. (Redington/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- There's so much stacked against Tiger Woods as he begins his third round at Oak Hill.
He's never broken par in six trips here for the PGA Championship.
The largest 36-hole deficit he's come back from in a major was six strokes. He trails by nearly twice that, 10 strokes off the pace set by Jason Dufner.
This week, if it hasn't been one thing -- he hit just half his greens in regulation on Thursday -- it has been another -- he took 32 putts Friday.
Woods (click here to follow his scorecard) has also struggled on the weekends of majors.
For the entire season, he's in the top 15 in putts per round over the first two days of a tournament with that number falling all the way down near 150th over the final two.
Some of the drop off can be attributed to Woods playing conservatively while protecting the lead in five wins. But in majors, he's been the one doing the chasing.
At the U.S. Open, he had at least 32 putts in a round three times, including 36 in the third round. At The Open Championship, he took 30 or more putts three times, including twice taking 33.
"I'm going to have to do my job and shoot a good round," Woods said after shooting 71-70 his first two days here. "Then again, I'm so far back that if the leaders go ahead and run off with it and shoot a low one (Saturday), I'm going to be pretty far behind."
Even if he does what Dufner did Friday when he matched the lowest round in major championship history, it still might not be enough.
Earlier in the week, Woods, who last won a major five years ago playing 91 holes on a broken leg, said his 15th career major has been the toughest to win.
Judging by the first two days here, it doesn't look like that drought will end this week.
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- There are 11 hole locations that are at the back of greens for the third round at Oak Hill. On a wet golf course, those are difficult to get to. But the forecast is clear for the weekend, and we'll find out just how much the course has dried out by how those approach shots