Rory McIlroy holds a one-stroke lead over Jason Day and Jim Furyk with a strong group of contenders also lurking close behind heading into Round 3 at the PGA Championship.
Now the question is whether the top golfer on the planet right now can pull away from the field, or if the season's final major will turn into a close weekend battle. The latter seems likely given the number of marquee names in the mix, but you never know with the way the Northern Irishman has been playing.
A clearer picture should emerge once the dust settles following moving day at Valhalla Golf Club. With that in mind, let's check out all of the important viewing information for Saturday's round along with some predictions for Day 3.
Round 3 Viewing Info
Where: Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky
When: Saturday, Aug. 9
Watch: TNT (11 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET) and CBS (2 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET)
Live Stream: PGA.com
Mikko Ilonen Falls Off Pace
Every major tournament brings about a couple of surprise contenders. Ilonen leads that group at Valhalla. He sits two strokes behind McIlroy in a tie for fourth place with Ryan Palmer and Rickie Fowler heading into the weekend.
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Recent results suggest he won't be able to maintain that level of play. He's finished inside the top 15 just once in eight starts since the start of May. While that was a win in the Irish Open, keeping up with the big names in contention this week is a completely different challenge.
The Finnish veteran also lacks experience in these types of situations. His finished ninth in the Open Championship, but that was all the way back in 2001. Since then, he's either failed to qualify or missed the cut in a vast majority of the big events, including the Open Championship last month.
Given the scoring conditions and the level of competition, it's likely going to take two great rounds of golf to win. Ilonen hasn't showcased that type of form in more than a decade, meaning he'll probably start to fade out of the picture on Saturday.
Adam Scott Makes a Charge
Scott found himself in danger of missing the cut on Friday. He carded back-to-back bogeys that left him in position to miss the weekend after six holes. The Australian got back on track, however, and made four birdies without dropping any more strokes the rest of the way.
He entered the week with added motivation after McIlroy overtook him atop the World Golf Rankings. Helen Ross of the PGA Tour's official site passed along comments from about trying to leapfrog back to No. 1 after the last major of the year:
I think the right guy is at No. 1 at the moment. He's played the best over the last couple months.
My consistent play is good, but you want the rankings to work and favor guys that win big events like that. So I think it's fair at the moment. I hope that I could go ahead and win this week and maybe go back to No. 1.
Though he enters the day seven strokes off the pace, the course definitely leaves room to go low and make a serious charge up the leaderboard. And if anybody outside the top 20 can get back within striking distance, it's him.
The 2013 Masters champion entered the tournament having recorded five straight top-10 finishes. So he's playing well right now and looked far better over the final 12 holes on Friday as opposed to his first 24 of the event. He's worth watching on Saturday.
Rory McIlroy Maintains the Lead
McIlroy has clearly found a comfort zone over the past couple of months. He's been crushing the ball off the tee, hitting approach shots that seem laser-guided and connecting on key putts when needed. It's been a terrific display of golf.
Now he finds himself in the lead at a major once again after winning the Open Championship last month. John Buccigross of ESPN notes the recent trends would suggest the 2012 PGA Championship winner is in great shape:
Rory McIlroy: shoots 67 (-4) to lead by 1 shot entering weekend; 36-hole leader has won each of the last 4 majors— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) August 9, 2014
Basically, if he plays his best golf over the next two days, he's going to win. There isn't anybody in the world capable of matching his current peak form. The only question is whether he can stay on his current hot streak for two more days.
It's tough to see him pulling away with so many talented players within a few shots. Day and Furyk figure to keep the heat on throughout the afternoon. But there's a good chance McIlroy will still hold the lead heading into the final round.