PGA Tour Championship 2012: Pairings to Watch in Round 3

Ethan GrantAnalyst ISeptember 22, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 21:  Jim Furyk lines up a putt on the 15th green during the second round of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola at East Lake Golf Club on September 21, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Jim Furyk stole the show at the second round of the PGA Tour Championship, hitting seven birdies and taking a sole share of the lead at the final tournament in the chase for the FedEx Cup.

Saturday, these golfers will hit Round 3 with an emphasis on making up some ground towards Furyk and other pace-setter Justin Rose, especially guys like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who both need a victory to secure their FedEx Cup victory.

In Round 3's pairings, there are some marquee names fighting for their lives after Round 2 struggles, while others are just looking to fly under the radar until the Sunday round, which matters the most.

It's exciting for the tour and for these golfers that there are five guys that can potentially win the Cup with a victory in the last tournament of the season, which makes for great storylines and compelling golf down the stretch, instead of cleat chasing at the top.

Here's a look at the leaderboard before Round 3 begins at 11:40 p.m. ET with Ernie Els and Nick Watney, and some of the pairings to keep an eye on in this pivotal Saturday on the PGA Tour.


Tiger Woods and Luke Donald - 12:50 p.m. ET

Woods is coming off a horrendous Round 2. He couldn't find the fairway, couldn't place it on the green and after all that, only finds himself six strokes off the pace. It was a disappointing Friday after sharing the lead after Round 1.

Donald shot pedestrian 71 and 69 rounds to enter Round 3 even in strokes. Coming off comments early in the summer when Donald called Woods "the best he's ever played with," we'll see if the former No. 1 can recapture some of his old glory and challenge Woods in the round.

Tiger needs a big day to put himself in position to close out the tournament on Sunday, especially since Brandt Snedeker and McIlroy, two golfers that would win the Cup with a tournament victory, are ahead of him in the standings.


Rory McIlroy and Robert Garrigus - 1:30 p.m. ET

All eyes will be on Woods on Saturday, but when they aren't, they'll be on the twenty-something wonderboy who's in position to capture his first FedEx Cup with a win or keeping the other men in position away from the podium.

A solid Round 2 leaves McIlroy at three-under, just four strokes behind the pace and the lowest score of the five men that are vying for the title.

No doubt the crowd and the fans alike will be looking for some magic from McIlroy, as he looks to improve his standing to land in a final pairing for Saturday with his sights set on holding off the rest of the field as the FedEx favorite.


Jim Furyk and Justin Rose - 2:00 p.m. ET

Furyk shot an unworldly 64 on Friday, and did it with several bogeys on the back nine. It seemed like he birdied every hole on the front nine, and only faded down the stretch to make his 64 look a lot more pedestrian than it really was.

Can he keep up that torrid pace? At seven-under, he's holding off Rose by a stroke for the lead, but Rose has played consistent golf and two of the best rounds consecutively at the Tour Championship.

In the spotlight of the final pairing of the day, you can bet cameras and eyes will be on Furyk after his big day, including Rory McIlroy, who would be just fine with Furyk taking this tournament and giving him the Cup.