England’s Luke Donald (pictured) is tied for the lead on -14 with world number one Tiger Woods going into Sunday’s final round of the 88th USPGA Championship at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois. Donald, who bases himself in the USA just 40 minutes from the course, will be looking to break two very different streaks in the final round as he looks for Europe’s first success in the historic old tournament.
The first run that he is hoping to end is Europe’s seven year barren spell in Major championships, which dates back to Paul Lawrie’s unexpected victory in the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie. Since then Major championship golf has been unkind to Europe’s top players, but to change this Donald must also break one of golf’s other famous statistics.
World number one Woods has never lost a Major when he has entered the final round in the lead or in a tie for the lead – a streak that he extended at last month’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. Donald seems unfazed by the prospect of becoming Europe’s first Major winner for seven years and by the chance to possibly become the man to end one of the most daunting winning sequences in the history of the game.
“I’m really happy with my game this week,” he said following an impressive bogey free third round of 66 on Saturday.
“I’m well aware about the European drought and about Tiger’s phenomenal record when leading going into the last day. Both streaks have got to come to an end one day, so why not tomorrow ? I’m not saying it will be easy – quite the opposite in fact. Everyone knows that Tiger is the world’s best player, but I won’t be intimidated by playing with him in the final round.”
Woods fired a sensational eight birdies in his superb round of 65 and he will be extremely confident of securing his second successive Major and his third USPGA title. Should he win he will move even closer to the all-time Major record of 18, held by the great Jack Nicklaus. Victory later today at Medinah, where Woods also won the USPGA Championship in 1999, would put him on 12 Majors at the relatively tender age of 30.
Canada’s Mike Weir matched Woods’ 65 to move to -12, two strokes behind the leading duo. US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy recovered from a sloppy start to score 68, which leaves him on -11, while Spain’s Sergio Garcia and former USPGA Champion Shaun Micheel are one stroke further back on -10 after both fired 67s. Defending champion Phil Mickelson finds himself at -8, having not quite found his best form this week, while overnight leader Henrik Stenson of Sweden shot a disappointing one-over-par round of 73 to leave him on -7.
All of these players will be hoping for some early birdies to put some pressure on Donald and Woods. The leaders will be heading out onto the course at 19:50 BST this evening.