Day three of the PGA Championship is in the books. Rory McIlroy is leading with Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day in hot pursuit. Sandwiched between these favorites is an Austrian, Bernd Wiesberger. A virtual unknown on the PGA Tour; he has only played in 7 events in the past four years and has missed the cut 4 times. Considered a journeyman on the European Tour, Wiesberger is defying all odds and will play with McIlroy in the last group tomorrow.
Except for Wiesberger, everything is playing out as scripted in this year’s PGA Championship. McIlroy is leading and being chased by two young lions and a wily veteran. With 11 players within 5 strokes of the leader, Sunday is shaping up to be the best finish of any Major in 2014. It is fitting that the last Major of the year be hotly contested by golf’s leading players.
An interesting fact about the 12 players at the top of the leaderboard is that nine different countries are represented. The diverse nature of the players is another strong indication that the US dominance in golf may be over! A particular favorite of mine is Graham DeLaet. The sole representative from Canada, he is considered to be one of the next great players because of his smooth swing and consistent play.
Moving day did not provide too many surprises at the top of the leaderboard. Except for Bernd Wiesberger and Jamie Donaldson, most players only moved up a couple of positions. The real movers of the day were players like Hunter Mahan (up 25 positions), Sergio Garcia (up 30 positions) and Adam Scott (up 13 positions). Unfortunately for these players, it is just a little too late. They are too many strokes behind to make a run for the Wanamaker Trophy, but they are fun to watch.
So far, my prediction of Rory McIlroy finishing first, Rickie Fowler finishing second and Sergio Garcia as my dark-horse, is not looking too bad. On Sunday, expect Fowler and Mickelson to start strong early and put pressure on McIlroy down the stretch. However, it will not be enough. McIlroy is playing his best golf in 2 years and will not falter. When all the dust settles on Sunday afternoon, Rory McIlroy will raise the Wanamaker Trophy over his head. As a two-time Major winner, he is a shoe-in for PGA Player of the Year!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!