PGA Championship Leaderboard 2011: Why Final Day is a Wide-Open Competition

Mike LynchContributor IIIAugust 14, 2011

JOHNS CREEK, GA - AUGUST 13: Steve Stricker hits an approach shot on the 18th hole as his caddie Jimmy Johnson looks on during the third round of the 93rd PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club on August 13, 2011 in Johns Creek, Georgia.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Sunday at the Highlands Course is shaping up to be a wild ride. Brendan Steele and Jason Dufner are tied for the lead at seven-under par. Keegan Bradley trails them by only one stroke. Scott Verplank sits at five-under par and Steve Stricker is at four under.

A trio of very intriguing picks going into Sunday sit at two-under par. Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion. David Toms, who won the 2001 PGA Championship on this course. Additionally, Adam Scott, the winner last week at Firestone, is also five back.

There is much uncertainty about how Steele or Dufner will react to having a share of the lead on Sunday at a major. Steele won at the Valero Texas Open this year, but he is a PGA Tour rookie. Dufner has never won on the PGA Tour. He lost in a playoff at TPC Scottsdale to Mark Wilson earlier this season and is a 34-year-old journeyman.  

Scott Verplank is 47 years old and despite several wins on the PGA tour, has never recorded a top-five finish in a major. If he wins, he would be the second oldest winner of a major championship. Steve Stricker at 44 is another player who hasn't won a major despite a successful career. He shot a 63 on Thursday, followed by a 74. Who knows what type of round he will have on Sunday.  

Keegan Bradley was in contention last week. However, the long hitter lost control down the stretch and fell out of the run.

The only major champions in striking range are Schwartzel and Toms. It is uncertain if they can play well enough to really get back in the mix

What really puts this day over the edge is the closing stretch of the course—specifically the long par 3 15th hole and the par 4 18th hole. Many players have found watery graves on those holes this week. You have a group of unproven players trying to deal with the pressure of bringing in a major championship. Combine that with two holes where double bogey is very possible and you have the recipe for one wild ending to "Glory's Last Shot."