TULSA, Okla. - Ernie Els was one of the few players to risk cutting the dogleg on the 10th hole at Southern Hills Saturday.
Els knocked it over the tree guarding the dogleg and birdied the hole, sending him on his way to a 69, and enabling him to be one of only five players under par heading into the final round of the 89th PGA Championship.
"If I get it on the right line, I can get it on the green," Els said. "It's 330 (yards) downhill. So, it's a big risk. I guess if I was leading, I would probably not be doing that.
Els has been struggling since coming off an injury and says at times he feels frustrated, especially chasing Tiger Woods.
"I am what I am, I can't change that," Els said. "Tiger, he's what he is, and he's not making the mistakes I'm making. And in a way that's frustrating. But, in a way that's got to be a positive, too.
"If I can start eliminating these mistakes, I can really start challenging for tournaments again."
There's little doubt players teeing off early have an advantage.
"What I noticed is that they were pretty much syringing the greens right up until the first group got up there, and I was the second group," said Trevor Immelman, who fired a 66. "I was able to fire at the flags. Obviously, it's extremely hot out there, they're protecting against losing the greens."
A total of 21 pros have shot 63 in a major championship, including Woods' record-tying round Friday. Greg Norman and Vijay Singh are the only players to shoot 63 in more than one major, Norman accomplishing that feat at The Masters and British Open, Singh pulling it off at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open.
Only Johnny Miller, Raymond Floyd, Norman and Jack Nicklaus went on to win after their 63s.
Paul Azinger and Rocco Mediate both withdrew from the tournament with back problems, Mediate after finishing nine holes.
Anthony Wall and Jyoti Randhawa have also withdrawn because of heat-related illnesses. Jason Bohn and Richard Sterne also withdrew due to injury.
So much for the clean-cut, down-to-earth Masters Champion. Zach Johnson missed the cut Friday. He may love Jesus, but he must not like reporters, refusing comment after his rounds of 74 and 76.
I love it when golfers are honest. Nathan Green made an eagle putt on No. 13 when he holed a long putt. Onlookers were incredulous at the skill it took.
Green admitted afterward it was a "terrible" putt.
"I think I blocked it about three cups and it went straight in," said Green.
August 12, 2007
Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
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