News & ToursAugust 13, 2011

Saturday stats: Fear the finish?

Eight notable second-round stats from Golf World contributing writer Brett Avery, who compiles the Rank and File statistical sections for the magazine's major championship coverage. For more numbers throughout each round, follow him on Twitter at @BWAvery.

  1. The top 10 entering the PGA Championship's third round struggled mightily over the last four holes, shooting a cumulative six over par (five birdies, five bogeys, three doubles). Jason Dufner and Scott Verplank gained the most with two birdies each while Jim Furyk (+4, doubled 15th and 18th), Brandt Jobe (+3) and John Senden (+2) lost the most.

1a. The top 10 and ties entering the final round, ranked by cumulative score at 15th-18th: --Dufner -3

--Steve Stricker -1

--David Toms -1 (birdied 18th Thursday, Saturday)

--Keegan Bradley even

--Verplank even (birdied 16th, 17th Saturday)

--Anders Hansen even

--Brendan Steele +1 (bogeyed 18th Saturday)

--Robert Karlsson +1 (bogeyed 18th daily)

--D.A. Points +2

--Adam Scott +2 (doubled 18th Friday)

--John Senden +3 (two bogeys at 18th)

--Charl Schwartzel +4 (18th: DB-bogey-par)

  1. One year ago this week, co-leader Steele shot 69-68-66-70 and tied for 15th in the Nationwide Tour's Price Cutter Charity Championship in Springfield, Mo. He earned $9,062.50. Once again this week he has opened 69-68-66. First prize is $1.445 million.

  2. More Steele: He first cracked the World Ranking top 300 last October 31, after winning the Nationwide Tour Championship. That rocketed him from 387th to 205th and secured his PGA Tour card for this season. That same week Tiger Woods surrendered the No. 1 spot to Lee Westwood.

  3. Verplank closed par-birdie-birdie-par for a 69 for solo fourth at five-under 205. This is the first time he's stood in the top 10 in a major with 18 to go since he was sixth at this event in 2007 at Southern Hills. He shot 71 and tied for ninth. Verplank's best position after 54 in a major was fifth in the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. He shot 75 for T-21. He was 30 years old, a decade removed from winning the Western Open as an amateur, when Corey Pavin claimed that title.

  4. The 75 players who survived the cut averaged 71.173 in the third round. Remarkably, with the last four holes being touted as brutally difficult, the incoming nine played the lowest of the week and barely below par (34.960). The 15th hole, which ranked second and third in difficulty the first two days, was Saturday's co-toughest at 3.333 (tied with No. 4). The 18th, toughest the first two days, was tied for third with No. 8 Saturday at 4.307.

  5. The field's low ringer score in the third round was 50, or 20 under par. The high ringer was 109, or 39 over par. Those numbers were 50-120 Thursday and 50-116 Friday.

  6. Co-leaders Dufner (8 a.m.) and Steele (8:10 a.m.) were in consecutive groups off the first tee Thursday.

  7. For those wondering if Steele will collapse Sunday, he ranks 14th on the PGA Tour this season in final-round scoring average (69.91). (h/t to John Antonini of Golf World staff.) Among other contenders, Steele is outranked by Donald (2nd, 68.70), Schwartzel (4th, 69.18), Nick Watney (9th, 69.50) and David Toms (11th, 69.64).

8a. Co-leader Dufner is T-72 in final-round scoring this season (70.91), Bradley is T-126 (71.57), Verplank is T-87 (71.13) and Stricker is T-42 (70.46).

  1. Of the 12 players who are -2 or better (T-8), there are two in the top 10 (Stricker 5th, Scott 9th) and three in the next 10 (Schwartzel 12th, Toms 19th, Karlsson (20th). The only other player in the top 75 is A. Hansen (45th). Then it's a drop to Dufner (80th), Verplank (87th) and Senden (92nd and the trio outside the top 100: Points (105th), Bradley (108th) and Steele (121st).

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