Watney alone in front halfway through third round

Updated: 15 August 2010 17:48 IST

Nick Watney opened a three-stroke lead at the US PGA Championship by making birdies on five of his first seven holes on his way to 12 under in the third round.

Watney alone in front halfway through third round

Sheboygan, Wisconsin : Nick Watney opened a three-stroke lead at the US PGA Championship by making birdies on five of his first seven holes on his way to 12 under in the third round.

Liang Wenchong of China broke the Whistling Straits record by a stroke with a bogey-free 8-under 64. As he finished his round yesterday, Liang smiled and pumped his fist. He'd missed the cut in his only other PGA Championship appearance, and his low score this year on either the US or European Tours was a 66.

Joining Liang at 9 under were Dustin Johnson, who melted down at the US Open after being the 54-hole leader, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Bryce Molder, Martin Kaymer of Germany and Jason Day of Australia. All were still on the course.

Tiger Woods had a chance to make things interesting, pulling within five strokes of the lead after the second round was completed in the morning. The fog that wreaked havoc on the first two days of the tournament finally lifted and the wind shifted perfect conditions for Woods to make a run.

"The course is the easiest I have seen it and it is there for the taking," said Paul Casey who, like Woods, is at 3-under 213.

But Woods backed up in the afternoon, and had to close birdie-birdie just to finish at even par for the day. When he finished, he was nine strokes and more than two dozen players behind Watney.

"It was just a struggling day, and I'm done with it," Woods said.

With only 72 players making the cut and three-player groups going off both tees, the third round should be completed before dark yesterday, meaning the tournament will finish on time after all.

Watney was seventh at both the Masters and the British Open, tying for high American honors at St. Andrews. But he wasn't a factor in either tournament, and few outside his own family paid much attention.

That's not the case this week.

Watney needs a good showing at the PGA to play himself onto the Ryder Cup team, he was 16th in the standings when he arrived at Whistling Straits, and if there are any doubts about his goal, "U-S-A" is stamped on the heel of his shoe.

Watney leapfrogged second-round leader Matt Kuchar with birdies on his first two holes and kept pouring it on. He was strong off the tee and solid on the greens, and recovered well from his few mistakes. Take the 598-yard No. 5. His chip on his second shot took off, flying clear across the green and stopping about 18 feet past the hole. He wound up with a birdie.

Topics : Golf Nick Watney
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