PGA Tour

Furyk still leads in Chicago

Jim Furyk (AFP)
Jim Furyk (AFP)

Chicago - Jim Furyk has followed a stunning round of 59 with a two-under par 69 on Saturday to seize a one-stroke lead after the third round of the US PGA BMW Championship.

But the 43-year-old American missed a five-foot par putt on the final hole and entered the final round of the $8 million playoff event with world number one Tiger Woods only four adrift.

"I felt pretty confident of what clubs to hit. I felt good out there," Furyk said. "It's tough to go out and fire another low one after putting up a low score.

"I didn't take advantage of some of my opportunities but I did go around under par and got myself around pretty well out there."

Furyk fired only the sixth 59 in US PGA Tour history on Friday, matching the record-low for 18 holes shared by Americans Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, David Duval and Paul Goydos plus Australian Stuart Appleby.

Furyk, who became the first man to have a bogey in a tour 59 round, finished 54 holes on 13-under 200, with Steve Stricker one stroke back, fellow 36-hole co-leader Brandt Snedeker two adrift, Zach Johnson on 203 and Woods on 204.

Woods sank a 12-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole to complete a third-round 66 as he battled back after accepting a two-stroke penalty Friday when tour officials ruled his ball moved when he said it had only oscillated and returned to its original spot.

"I had a nice little run to at least get myself in there where I have a chance tomorrow," Woods said.

Snedeker fell back with three bogeys in his first five holes while Furyk played the front nine at par, a bogey at the fourth answered by a birdie at the seventh.

Furyk, who reached 32 fairways in a row and 37 of 42 in the first three rounds to lead the tournament in driving accuracy, began the back nine with back-to-back birdies and added another at the 15th before his closing bogey.

Furyk seeks his 16th career title and his first since winning the 2010 Tour Championship. But he has blown his past five 54-hole leads, most recently at last month's PGA Championship when Jason Dufner passed him in the final round to win the year's final major title.

"I can't be worried about what I could have done," Furyk said. "I have to concentrate on going out there and shooting a good round."

That's much the same situation Woods finds himself in, after losing two strokes on the first hole in his second round when an enhanced video showed his ball had moved.

Even after viewing the video evidence the PGA used to impose the penalty, Woods said he did not see the ball move, only oscillate and return to its original spot.

"Frustrated," Woods said. "I thought the ball just oscillated but they decided otherwise. That was it. They played the replay and gave me two (penalty shots).

"I was pretty hot. Nothing happened. The ball oscillated. I played the rest of the round (Friday) grinding my tail off to get back into the tournament.

"I fought back today, which was not easy to do. There were a lot of thoughts going on last night but the sun comes up in the East and tomorrow's another day.

"I didn't feel like I did anything. Things can move and do move. I thought it oscillated and stayed in the same position. Evidently, it didn't."

Woods fell eight strokes off the pace with a bogey at the fifth hole on Saturday.

Then Woods made his charge, with birdies on the next three holes and after a par at the ninth, three birdies in a row to begin the back nine and move into a share of second place behind Furyk.

Woods put his approach at the 10th inches from the cup, sank a six-foot birdie putt at the 11th and dropped in a two-footer at the 12th.

But Woods found water off the tee at the 15th and took a bogey ahead of his birdie at 18.

In the wake of Furyk's 59, Matt Kuchar shot a 61. He needed an albatross from the fairway at the par-5 18th to fire a 59 and went for the flag, but finished 21 feet past the hole and two-putted for birdie, finishing off the lowest round of his career by two shots.

"I think I at least scared the hole a little bit," Kuchar said.

Another American, Hunter Mahan, fired a hole-in-one at the 210-yard, par-3 17th hole.

Leading scores on Saturday after the third round of the $8 million US PGA Tour BMW Championship (USA unless noted, par 71):
200 - Jim Furyk 72-59-69
201 - Steve Stricker 66-71-64
202 - Brandt Snedeker 63-68-71
203 - Zach Johnson 64-70-69
204 - Tiger Woods 66-72-66
205 - Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 66-70-69, Ryan Moore 67-69-69
206 - Hunter Mahan 68-73-65, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 69-71-66, Nick Watney 67-69-70
207 - Luke Donald (ENG) 70-70-67, Matt Jones (AUS) 69-71-67, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 70-68-69, Jason Day (AUS) 71-66-70, Jimmy Walker 72-65-70
208 - Matt Kuchar 74-73-61, Roberto Castro 68-69-71
209 - Nicholas Thompson 69-75-65, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 72-70-67, John Merrick 67-73-69, Brendon de Jonge (ZIM) 71-68-70, Jordan Spieth 71-65-73
210 - Daniel Summerhays 72-70-68, Webb Simpson 72-69-69, Kevin Streelman 66-70-74
211 - Justin Rose (ENG) 71-71-69, Bubba Watson 71-71-69, David Hearn (CAN) 72-68-71, Keegan Bradley 74-67-70, Gary Woodland 68-72-71

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