After an exciting third round on Saturday at the 97th PGA Championship, Australian Jason Day leads the pack at 15-under par after firing a stellar round of 66. And guess who’s lurking in second place only two strokes off the lead? None other than 22-year-old American golfing sensation Jordan Spieth, who fired a third-round 65 to vault himself into contention.
A host of talented golfers, including the likes of Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, and Branden Grace, are only a few shots behind the lead as they head into Sunday’s grand finale at the PGA Championship.
On Saturday, Whistling Straits featured optimum scoring conditions. Branden Grace shot an eight-under 64, carding eight birdies and not a single bogey to blemish his card. Grace, whose highlight of the day occurred when he holed his bunker shot on the 18th for birdie, now sits at 12-under par for the championship and in a tie for third.
Martin Kaymer, the 2010 PGA champion at Whistling Straits also fired a low round of his own — a bogey-free 65. He capped off his day by dropping in a lengthy 34-foot birdie putt on the difficult 17 hole.
But the storylines after a topsy-turvy day at the PGA belonged to Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, who both missed the playoff at the Open Championship last month by a single putt. Day will be looking for redemption and also for his first major championship victory. He has been knocking on the door of the winner’s circle at the majors throughout the years but has been unable to hoist the trophy come Sunday. This Sunday at the PGA Championship may be the best opportunity for Day to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy.
Spieth, on the other hand, is looking to record his name in the books of golfing history with a victory this week. A victory this week at the PGA will make Spieth, who won the Masters and the U.S. Open, the victor of three major championships in a calendar year, a historic achievement for a golfer so young.
Spieth’s highlights in his third round included six birdies in his final eight holes, including three consecutive birdies on his last three holes, to close out the day with a flourish. After his round, he spoke to the media and discussed how the 11th hole was truly a turning point in his round.
“When that putt missed and I was walking off to 11, I said, ‘All right, it’s now or never’ at that point. I thought that if I could get to 10, if I could get three more, then I would still have a chance.”
Day also surged into the lead on his inward nine with four birdies and an eagle, but a costly double bogey at the 15th brought him back to 14-under. The Australian will tee off in the final pairing at the PGA along with Jordan Spieth, and in his post-round interview, Day commented on his mindset heading into the final round and his anticipation to tee it up with Jordan.
“It will be an exciting challenge playing against Jordan, for sure, but I think a fun time, too. I’ve been in this experience before. I haven’t won, but that’s something that is possibly a new experience for me tomorrow.”
Given all the drama on Saturday, the grand finale at the PGA Championship will undoubtedly be another thrilling roller coaster finish as the top golfers in the world vie for the final major of the season. Golf fans, let us sit back, watch, and enjoy.
[Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]