Through three rounds of action at Oak Hill and the 2013 PGA Championship, Jim Furyk has posted the lowest score.
It's been 10 years since Furyk won his first and only major championship, but he's been one of the best golfers on the course in New York this week and carries the weight of being the leader into Sunday's final round.
That being said, ESPN's Justin Ray reminded us that being "in the hunt" isn't a bad place to be at all:
Since 2009, 10 players 2+ shots back entering final round of a major have won. In same span, only 5 leaders/co-leaders have won.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) August 10, 2013
Jason Dufner, Henrik Stenson and Jonas Blixt are the next three golfers on the tournament leaderboard, while 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott, two-time major winner Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood make up a strong group of contenders to win the Wanamaker Trophy.
*For a complete look at the leaderboard heading into Sunday, visit PGATour.com.
Dufner, who set the Oak Hill East Course record with a seven-under 63 on Friday, is looking forward to playing in the final pairing with Furyk. The PGA Championship's official Twitter account had this post with his comments:
While there won't be any shortage of excitement toward the victor on Sunday, that excitement will not come from two men who we thought would both be in contention when the tournament began.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson both struggled again on Saturday. The two multiple-major winners have struggled to find the fairway or read greens successfully through the first three days of action, and they will be playing for pride on Sunday because of it.
As noted by ESPN's Stats & Info, the poor performances are moving toward the duo making history at tournaments in which they are both competing in:
Since 1997, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have never both finished outside of the top 50 when making the cut.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 10, 2013
With only one round separating us from finalizing golf's four major championship winners from the 2013 season, here's a look at the tee times for Round 4 at Oak Hill and a few predictions for Sunday.
|Pairing||Tee Time (ET)|
|Gary Woodland||8:25 a.m.|
|Stephen Gallacher, Phil Mickelson||8:35 a.m.|
|Ben Curtis, Ian Poulter||8:45 a.m.|
|Thongchai Jaidee, Hunter Mahan||8:55 a.m.|
|Darren Clarke, Shane Lowry||9:05 a.m.|
|Tommy Gainey, John Merrick||9:15 a.m.|
|Matt Jones, Scott Stallings||9:25 a.m.|
|Tim Clark, Miguel Angel Jimenez||9:35 a.m.|
|Peter Hanson, Matteo Manassero||9:45 a.m.|
|Vijay Singh, Thorbjorn Olesen||9:55 a.m.|
|J.J. Henry, John Senden||10:05 a.m.|
|Harris English, Danny Willett||10:15 a.m.|
|Martin Kaymer, D.A. Points||10:25 a.m.|
|Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods||10:45 a.m.|
|Paul Casey, Ryan Palmer||10:55 a.m.|
|Ryan Moore, Chris Kirk||11:05 a.m.|
|Keegan Bradley, Hideki Matsuyama||11:15 a.m.|
|Josh Teater, Brendaon de Jonge||11:25 a.m.|
|Ken Duke, David Hearn||11:35 a.m.|
|Sergio Garcia, Brandt Snedeker||11:45 a.m.|
|K.J. Choi, Graeme McDowell||11:55 a.m.|
|Justin Rose, Rafael Cabrera-Bello||12:05 p.m.|
|Michael Thompson, Marcus Fraser||12:15 p.m.|
|Scott Jamieson, Boo Weekley||12:25 p.m.|
|Jason Day, Luke Guthrie||12:35 p.m.|
|Rickie Fowler, Scott Piercy||12:45 p.m.|
|Ryo Ishikawa, Kiradech Aphibarnrat||12:55 p.m.|
|Marc Leishman, Francesco Molinari||1:05 p.m.|
|Robert Garrigus, Matt Kuchar||1:25 p.m.|
|Charley Hoffman, Webb Simpson||1:35 p.m.|
|Bill Haas, David Lynn||1:45 p.m.|
|David Toms, Zach Johnson||1:55 p.m.|
|Roberto Castro, Marc Warren||2:05 p.m.|
|Dustin Johnson, Kevin Streelman||2:15 p.m.|
|Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood||2:25 p.m|
|Steve Stricker, Adam Scott||2:35 p.m|
|Henrik Stenson, Jonas Blixt||2:45 p.m.|
|Jim Furyk, Jason Dufner||2:55 p.m.|
Lee Westwood Gets Denied
Lee Westwood has been a stalwart in the top 10 at majors over the last few years, but he's failed to turn that success into a victory thus far.
As noted by Sky Sports Golf, Westwood stands alone when it comes to the phrase "try, try again" on the PGA Tour:
Most major starts without a victory: 62 Lee Westwood, 61 Miguel Angel Jimenez, 60 Sergio Garcia, 59 Steve Stricker.— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) August 9, 2013
Don't expect that trend to change on Sunday.
Paired with McIlroy to end the tournament, Westwood had a bounce-back round on Saturday. After shooting a three-over 73 to fall out of the mix on Friday, he responded with one of the best scores of the afternoon during Round 3.
Although he turned in a solid scorecard on Saturday, Westwood has a major mountain to climb to make his way back to the top of the leaderboard. At three-under, he's six strokes off the pace set by Furyk.
I think Westwood will win a major before it's all said and done. I don't think that major will come in the form of a PGA Championship victory on Sunday.
Zach Johnson Finishes in the Top Five
Slowly but surely, Zach Johnson's 2013 season has turned itself around.
After poor showings at the Masters and U.S. Open, Johnson has been on a tear since finishing in the top two at the John Deere Classic. He has two other top-six finishes since then (British Open and Bridgestone Invitational) and is knocking on the door at Oak Hill.
ESPN's Bob Harig picked Johnson to win the PGA Championship before it began.
With momentum from his last three tournaments and three consistently strong days at Oak Hill (69-70-70), I like Johnson to make a run to the top five on Sunday and finish just shy of his second career major victory.
Winner: Jim Furyk
Although it's been a decade since Jim Furyk won a major, the "old man" at the top of the leaderboard has more than enough ammunition to bring himself home major No. 2.
Heck, Furyk is embracing his role as the elder statesman. The PGA Championship's Twitter account talked about that after Furyk's third-round performance:
The 2012 Ryder Cup team member has had an up-and-down trip to the three previous majors, tying for 25th at the Masters before missing the cut at the U.S. and British Opens.
When he's in command, though, Furyk has been tough to beat.
Ray posted this Furyk stat following the third round:
Since 2003, Furyk is 6-for-7 converting outright 54-hole leads into wins. 1-for-5 when he shares the lead.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) August 10, 2013
Dufner, Scott and Stenson figure to give Furyk the most trouble on Sunday, but the 43-year-old has been here before and knows what it takes to win golf tournaments.
Holding off a late charge and showing the clutch form that has extended his career, Furyk will win the Wanamaker Trophy and the 2013 PGA Championship.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.