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Furyk Still on Top at Bridgestone Invitational
Jim Furyk has stayed atop the leaderboard in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational since the first round. The 42-year-old Pennsylvanian carded an even-par 70 Saturday in the $8.5 million event that began Thursday at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
Thanks to a 63 and 66 the first two days, Furyk is at 11-under 199, one stroke ahead of South African Louis Oosthuizen (68) and four in front of Keegan Bradley (67). Furyk, a 16-time PGA Tour winner, is looking for his first victory since the 2010 Tour Championship.
Furyk noticed a difference in how Firestone played Saturday versus the previous two days. "I think the golf course definitely played tougher today," he said. "We had a little bit more wind going on, the greens firmed up a little bit, and I just felt like it was a lot harder to get iron shots close to the pin.
"I hit a couple good shots, whether they got through the wind a little better than I thought or got knocked down a little bit by the wind, like the wedge shot on nine, I thought I hit pretty good. I didn't have as many opportunities, kind of ground it out today and kind of went out a little shaky with the putter missing the good birdie opportunities at 3 and 5, but felt like from that point on hit a lot of good, solid putts and made a couple good putts. Two or three real good par saves. Real happy with the way I stroked the ball and pretty pleased with the way I played today."
Rory McIlroy posted a 67 that included four birdies and a bogey to rise into a share of fourth with Steve Stricker (68) at 6-under 204, while right behind at 205 are Justin Rose (66), Bo Van Pelt (66) and John Senden (69).
When asked what he liked about his round, McIlroy said, "I think everything. I think I hit the ball well from tee to green, and I took a few of my chances early on. Actually had a couple of big saves around four, five and six, and just finished it off well. I took my chance on 16 and had a good chance at 17 and didn't make it but then holed a nice putt for par at the last."
World No. 1 Luke Donald carded a 71 to tie for ninth at 206 with Jason Dufner (73). A stroke behind are Graeme McDowell and Simon Dyson, who both shot 70s.
Furyk's playing partner in the final group, Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello, had a tough third round, shooting a 77 to drop into a share for 13th at 208 with seven other players, including Branden Grace, who tied Saturday's low round of 66.
Tiger Woods had a good day, posting three birdies and a bogey for a 68 to reach even-par 210. "Today I hit the ball well and made some putts, so it was - I thought I was playing pretty well on that - through, I'll say, 11 holes, but I was getting killed by my playing partner," he said in reference to Grace. "I thought I was playing well, but he was playing better. So it was a good day. We both had some good rounds today, and it was good to finish up on a positive note."
Grace's round with Tiger was his first time playing with the No. 2-ranked player in the world, and one who also happens to usually have the biggest galleries. "Obviously the first time playing with Tiger was an experience of its own. Obviously the crowds and everything has been great. But like I say, this golf course, you need to get to know it.
"(Friday) I played a lot better. Obviously I didn't make a birdie or a bogey yesterday, but it was nice to go out there today and know that the birdies were there for the making, and I made a couple."
Because of the threat of early-morning thunderstorms Sunday, the PGA Tour has decided to start the players off the first and 10th tees in threesomes beginning at 8 a.m.
For all the final-round tee times, visit http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/tournaments/r476/tee-times.html. For complete scoring details, visit http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/leaderboards/current/r476/index.html.