Saturday, August 9, 2014

PGA Championship, Day Three Wrap Up

Unfortunately, computer problems prevented me from commenting on the back nine, because this afternoon was one of the most entertaining rounds of major championship golf we have seen in some time.  At one point this afternoon, there was a five-way tie for first place at 10 under par.  But one of those five players was Rory McIlroy, who just happens to be the best golfer in the world.  And here's what he did to break the tie:

15th hole:  BIRDIE (11 under)
16th hole:  BIRDIE (12 under)
17th hole:  Par
18th hole:  BIRDIE (13 under)

So McIlroy has the lead going into the last round, and he will be going for a third consecutive victory, after wins at the British Open and last week's World Golf Championship event in Akron, Ohio.  His playing partner tomorrow will be Bernd Wiesberger, the number 70 player in the world.  Wiesberger is an Austrian who has made the cut in a major for only the second time, but he was masterful this afternoon, putting up a glorious 65.  Wiesberger had two victories on the European Tour in 2012, so he cannot be completely discounted.  Nevertheless, it would be a stunning accomplishment for Wiesberger to become the first Austrian winner of a major golf championship, given the high-powered names on the leaderboard.  Here are the latest odds on the title, according to the British betting houses:

R. McIlroy:  4 to 6
R. Fowler:  5 to 1
P. Mickelson:  10 to 1
J. Day:  12 to 1
B. Wiesberger:  14 to 1
H. Stenson:  20 to 1

Ricky Fowler has been great in the majors this year, and he should be prepared for tomorrow's showdown.  And Phil Mickelson has recovered the form that he has lost for most of the year.  But McIlroy is playing at a level we haven't seen from anyone since Tiger's glory days, and he should be favored to pick up the fourth major title of his career.

One more comment should be made about Valhalla Golf Club, the Louisville course that is hosting this event.  I was not surprised, of course, to see the huge and enthusiastic crowds for the event, or to hear the CBS announcers complimenting the Kentucky fans for their love of sports.  Kentuckians are, in my opinion, the best sports fans in the country -- if not the world.  But I was surprised to see how well Valhalla was playing.  I've never been a huge fan of this course, and I was troubled by the fact that it seemed to undergo significant changes every few years.  This iteration of Valhalla, however, is extremely impressive -- a fun mix of birdie holes and bogey holes that is tailor-made for an exciting golf tournament.  As you will see from the leaderboard below, Valhalla has also done an outstanding job of identifying the best players in the world -- the PGA Championship should feature a high-powered leaderboard, and that's what we have.  Given how disappointed I was by the latest iteration of Pinehurst (which we saw in the U.S. Open), I am really pleased with Valhalla, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's play.


1.  R. McIlroy (NIR):  -13 (66+67+67=200)

2.  B. Wiesberger (AUT):  -12 (68+68+65=201)

3.  R. Fowler:  -11 (69+66+67=202)

T4.  P. Mickelson:  -10 (69+67+67=203)
T4.  J. Day (AUS):  -10 (69+65+69=203)

T6.  L. Oosthuizen (RSA):  -9 (70+67+67=204)
T6.  H. Stenson (SWE):  -9 (66+71+67=204)
T6.  M. Ilonen (FIN):  -9 (67+68+69=204)
T6.  R. Palmer:  -9 (65+70+69=204)

T10.  J. Donaldson (WAL):  -8 (69+70+66=205)
T10.  G. DeLaet (CAN):  -8 (69+68+68=205)
T10.  S. Stricker:  -8 (69+68+68=205)

No comments:

Post a Comment