SAN FRANCISCO — A protracted anticipate the primary golf main of 2020 is being rewarded with a powerful leaderboard and quite a few prospects heading into the ultimate spherical of the PGA Championship.
TPC Harding Park has confirmed to be a worthy take a look at, with loads of bother lurking and but alternatives for fireworks. Birdies are available, however balls are additionally to be swallowed by deep tough and Cypress bushes, too.
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With the same cool forecast for Sunday, here is a take a look at the contenders heading into the ultimate spherical, together with Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, who’s inside attain of a 3rd straight PGA Championship and fifth main title.
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Maybe D.J. discovered the important thing to success: a yardage e book is overrated. Truly, Johnson misplaced his, and needed to depend on his brother and caddie, A.J., for the intricate particulars at Harding Park. He shot 31 on the again and birdied three of the final 5 holes to shoot 65 — regardless of a double bogey on the ninth.
Johnson, 36, has now shot eight straight rounds within the 60s on the PGA Championship and is in place to win that elusive second main championship. Ten years after blowing the PGA in epic trend — he was penalized two strokes for grounding his membership in an 18th-hole bunker to overlook a playoff at Whistling Straits — he has one other glorious alternative after being 4 again to begin the day.
“I’ve been out right here awhile now,” stated Johnson, whose lone main title got here on the 2016 U.S. Open. “I have been in competition loads, and I’ve bought it accomplished numerous instances. [On Sunday], it is no completely different. I will should play good golf if I wish to win. It is easy: I’ve bought to hit numerous fairways and numerous greens. If I can do this, I will have a great probability coming down the stretch on the again 9.”
That is new territory for Scheffler, 24, who’s enjoying in simply his fourth main championship and his first PGA. He has but to win on the PGA Tour. Birdies on three straight holes on the again 9 gave him a share of the lead previous to a bogey at 18 for a 65. He’s one again of Johnson and can play with him within the closing spherical.
“There’s positively some nerves however simply bought to attempt to deal with them as finest I can and exit and play, and I did a great job of that [in Saturday’s third round] simply staying in the correct body of mine, making good, constructive swings and made some good birdies,” he stated.
It has been a hit-or-miss profession for Champ, who has two PGA Tour victories — however solely two different top-10 finishes. That is simply the third main championship for Champ, 25, who tied for 54th finally yr’s PGA. Champ adopted his Friday 64 with a 67 and his lengthy sport is well-suited for Harding Park. However he is a newcomer to the most important strain.
Barely a professional for a yr, there’s numerous upside for Morikawa, who earned his second profession victory a number of weeks in the past and appears unflappable at age 23. Out of school simply 15 months, he performs past his expertise. Three birdies close to the tip of his spherical helped get him in competition, simply two again, after beginning the day six behind.
“I needed to play nicely,” he stated. “Who is aware of if one of many leaders shoots 5 or 6-under and actually separates themselves. To have an opportunity, I needed to shoot a reasonably good spherical a minimum of. Now something can occur to anybody.”
The Englishman has quietly hung round with scores of 68-67-68 to provide himself a shot at his first main championship. Solely Sergio Garcia (74) and Tom Kite (72) had extra main begins than Casey (64) earlier than successful their first. At 43, he would even be the third-oldest participant behind Jerry Barber and Roberto DeVicenzo to win his first main title.
The hunt for historical past appeared over when he bogeyed three straight holes on the again 9. However Koepka appears to by no means be denied within the majors, and he willed himself into competition with birdies on two of the final three holes to tug inside two photographs of Johnson.
Koepka is attempting to change into the primary participant since Peter Thomson received The Open from 1954-56 to win a significant in three straight years. Walter Hagen received the PGA 4 straight instances from 1924-27.
Because it pertains to chasing Johnson, Koepka stated: “I like my possibilities. Once I’ve been on this place earlier than, I’ve capitalized. I do not know, he is solely received one. I am enjoying good. We’ll see.”
The beefed-up Bryson must keep away from the quite a few bogeys he continues to make if he’s to win his first main championship. He is by no means completed higher than 15th in a significant, and that is his finest alternative, simply three behind Johnson. However his quite a few birdies for the event (17) have been considerably offset by too many bogeys (11). Nonetheless, DeChambeau has the power and confidence to get this accomplished.
No one is extra due than Finau, who retains knocking on the door, whether or not or not it’s common occasions or main championships. A 3rd-round 67 offers him one other probability however he in all probability must go decrease than that with so many individuals forward of him.
Rose could not get a lot going Saturday, settling for a 70 that saved him inside attain of the leaders. The 2013 U.S. Open champion has loads of expertise in huge occasions and shot 66 within the first spherical right here. He’ll want one other one like that to have an opportunity.
Simply two out of the lead when the third spherical started, Day might solely handle an even-par 70 to fall three behind. Nonetheless, he has an opportunity to nab his second PGA Championship. The Aussie has been on a pleasant, quiet run of late, posting three consecutive top-10 finishes coming into the PGA
The shock second-round chief, Li hung in superbly for many of Saturday till his tee shot on the 13th gap seemingly bought caught in a Cypress tree, resulting in a misplaced ball and a double-bogey 6. He added two extra bogeys and had only one birdie for the spherical to shoot 73 and fall 4 strokes again. Li’s possibilities to change into the primary Chinese language golfer to win a significant championship seemingly hinged on him staying nearer to the lead.
Daniel Berger and Tommy Fleetwood are tied for seventh, solely three again, and definitely nonetheless inside hanging distance. Joel Dahmen can be an final underdog successful, at age 32 enjoying in simply his third main. He sits 4 again. It has been a quiet week for Xander Schauffele, who can be simply 4 again.