Saturday's Birdies and Bogeys

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Saturday's Birdies and Bogeys

August 08, 2014

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: AP Photo

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Stephen Szurlej

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: AP Photo

Photo By: Getty Images

Birdie: Rory McIlroyAt his very best, McIlroy looks unstoppable. He hits his driver far and straight, attacks every pin he can get at -- and even some he can't -- and hits his putts firmly into the hole. It's telling that Rory's six-birdie, two-bogey round in easy conditions Saturday was probably his least impressive at the PGA so far, because it seemed littered with missed opportunities -- his par on the driveable par-4 fourth the most obvious. The difference is that it's only Rory who's capable of creating those opportunities in the first place. It just reiterates the fact if Rory gets going Sunday, he's the only person in the hunt who could completely manhandle this leader board.--Luke Kerr-Dineen

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Bogey: Rory McIlroy's drawRory may be one good round away from his third-straight victory, but he showed signs that the streak may come to an end at Valhalla. The unflappable, booming draw that brought him victory at Royal Liverpool and Firestone turned into a high hook at times Saturday. It forced good par saves out of him on the reachable par-4 fourth and the 14th, and led to a bogey on the 12th hole. All things considered, it's a small problem Rory surely has his eye on. If he doesn't tend to it, though, that left miss has potential to spiral out of control under major championship pressure. --LKD

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Birdie: Bernd WiesbergerFor all the horsepower on the leader board at this PGA, you'd be excused if you thought the name Bernd Wiesberger one-shot off the 54-hole lead was a misprint. A closer look at Wiesberger's major championship record wouldn't help clear up the mystery. The 28-year-old Austrian has played in six majors, and missed the cut in five of them, including two this year. But after a 65 on Saturday to earn a spot in the final pairing with Rory McIlroy, Wiesberger might represent this year's Bob May. "I've not been in contention in a major championship so I don't know how it's going to turn out," he said. "From now on it's a bonus, really." --Sam Weinman

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Birdie: Phil MickelsonFor a third straight day, it took Mickelson a few hours to really warm up before closing strong. At even par through 13 holes and getting passed by a slew of players, Mickelson made a 25-foot birdie on 14 that seemed to get Lefty going in the right direction. His next two approach shots wound up in gimme range and he settled for a tap-in birdie on No. 18 and a second consecutive 67 after a long eagle try burned the edge. Incredibly, Mickelson doesn't have a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour during a season he described as "pathetic" in a pre-tournament interview. Grabbing his first win, and his sixth major title overall, would certainly change that.--Alex Myers

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Bogey: Jim FurykThe soft conditions Saturday at Valhalla turned par into something far less than the 71 it says on the scorecard. In turn, the 72 Furyk signed for felt more like a 77. No other golfer in the top 40 on the leader board shot worse than 71 in the third round, leaving Furyk to free fall from T-2 to start the day to T-13, six strokes back of Rory McIlroy. The clearest sign that it wasn't going to be Furyk's day was when he missed a two-footer for par on the eighth hole. Compounding this was the par he made on the par-5 18th hole, where 43 of the 74 playing Saturday made birdie or eagle.--Ryan Herrington

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Birdie: Rickie FowlerThe latest sign of the "new" Rickie came after he shot a bogey-free 67 Saturday to be within two of 54-hole leader Rory McIlroy. With a straight face (albeit covered by that folliclely challenged mustache) the 25-year-old looked into the CBS camera and said, "I didn't get a whole lot out of the round on the back nine." Never mind he had improved his scoring average in majors this year to 69.33. Honestly, Fowler is in a better spot to win at Valhalla while playing in the penultimate pairing than in the final group at the U.S. and British Opens, where he started five and six back. Sunday at Valhalla, Fowler can't look straight into McIlroy's eyes, but he can still make him sweat.--RH

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Birdie: Weekend DramaIf your measure of major championship excitement is frequent lead changes on the weekend, then this has been a pretty dreadful year in majors. Bubba Watson had his Masters win essentially sewn up by the 10th hole Sunday at Augusta -- and that was the exciting one. By all indications, this PGA Sunday won't be a snooze. When Rory McIlroy birdied the 10th hole on Saturday, there were 14 players within four shots of the lead. By day's end, there were still nine. And not just anybody, but heavyweights of the game like McIlroy, Fowler, Mickelson, Day and Stenson. For all the lumps golf has taken this year, it deserves some electricity in a major. It appears we're positioned for just that. --SW

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Birdie: U.S. Ryder Cup TeamWe've spent much of the week discussing the plight of the potential U.S. Ryder Cup squad, with big names like Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson being either hurt, struggling or both. But Saturday had to be encouraging for Captain Tom Watson. Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker went low, and stars like Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson kept up their good play. The Americans should still be considered an underdog in Scotland next month, but another day like this and they will feel much better about their chances. --AM

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Bogey: Valhalla's Fourth HoleThe PGA of America decided to move the tees up on No. 4, turning it into a drivable par 4. Fine. But by moving it up 80 yards to make it less than 300 yards and by putting the pin all the way in the back of the green, the hole played too easy. There were seven eagles, including a near ace by light-hitting Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, 41 birdies, and only three players failed to make par. With danger only lurking with a huge hook and everyone able to reach, the risk-reward of a good, short par 4 simply wasn't there. --AM

Photo By: Stephen Szurlej

Birdie: Bubba WatsonOutside of this year's Masters, it's not been a good year for Bubba Watson in the majors. After missed cuts at both Opens, Bubba's PGA Championship has been marred by petulance, stubbornness and poor play. Watson's two-over 73 pushed him to two over for the tournament and into T-72, but we're choosing to focus on the positive. After his round, Bubba sought out his critics in the press center and thanked them for holding him "accountable." It was a great show of class by the Masters champ, and hopefully, it marks a turning point for his on-course attitude. --LKD

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Bogey: Ian PoulterIan Poulter has played in four Ryder Cups, and he's been a captain's pick for two of them. Now, it's looking increasingly like Poulter will need another one of those picks for the 2014 contest at Gleneagles. It's odd that Poulter, a Ryder Cup hero in every sense of the word, often needs so much help getting into the team, especially after he had a chance to work his way in on his own account this week. But his even-par 71 in easy conditions following his 73 on Friday leaves him basically irrelevant at T-50 after 54 holes. It's a big opportunity missed for Poulter and, barring a miracle on Sunday, it looks like he'll need to endear himself to yet another captain. --LKD

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Birdie: Hunter MahanWith fond memories of Valhalla from his play six years ago at the Ryder Cup, where he went 2-0-3 for the victorious U.S. team, Mahan channeled his 2008 self with a bogey-free 65. Just how good was Mahan's third round, which matched the best score of the tournament and vaulted the 32-year-old from T-38 to T-13? His six birdies Saturday exceeded the five he made the previous two days combined. "Today some of those putts that would have lipped out [Thursday and Friday] lipped in," he said. If Mahan could back up this round with another good number on Sunday, he'll go a long way of securing his first top-10 finish since March. --RH

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