Golf: No-names do well at PGA
By Paul Newberry
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. ó Brendan Steele is playing in his first major championship. Jason Dufner has never won a tour event.
Hard to tell at the PGA Championship.
The no-names stayed cool on a sweltering Saturday at Atlanta Athletic Club, setting up a final round that will be short on recognizable faces but could end a major drought for the Americans. Steele shot 4-under 66 and was tied with Dufner, who joined him at 7-under 203 with a 68.
ěItís a great week for me just to be in the field,î Steele said. ěTo have a chance to actually win in my first major is really something special.î
Keegan Bradley, another guy playing in his first major, bounced back from a double bogey at the first hole for a 69 that left just one stroke back heading to the final round, another perfect fit for what is developing as the theme of the yearís final major.
Who are these guys anyway?
ěComing up to the final hole with the sun going down,î Bradley said, ěthat was kind of cool.î
Tiger Woods, defending PGA champion Martin Kaymer and several other stars are watching from home, failing to make the cut. U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy, who came into the week as the favorite, struggled to a 74 with his ailing wrist and wonít be a factor on Sunday.
Into the void stepped several Americans known only to the most ardent golf fans. But theyíve put the U.S. in position to capture its first major title since Phil Mickelson won the 2010 Masters. Since then, itís an 0-for-6 drought, this countryís longest of the modern Grand Slam era.
The 34-year-old Dufner, who had not made a cut since late May, showed his moxie after a couple of three-putt bogeys knocked him out of the lead. He bounced back with a birdie at the 15th, the longest par-3 on the course, and made it two in a row by rolling in a 12-footer at the next hole.
Heís got the closest thing to a home-course advantage among the leaders ó he lives about two hours away in Auburn, Ala., and is used to playing in the blistering heat and on Bermuda greens.
ěMaybe Iím a little bit surprised to be in the final group at a major,î Dufner said. ěBut Iím not surprised to be playing well on this type of golf course.î
Steele, a 28-year-old Californian, birdied five of the first 10 holes.
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