The final round of the USPGA Championship promises to be full of birdies with rainfall softening Valhalla
As the contenders for the 2014 PGA Championship go through their pre-round routines, the anticipation is mounting in Louisville for what could be a shoot-out of birdies and maybe more at Valhalla Golf Club today.
It has rained again overnight and this morning in Louisville, ensuring that Valhalla’s greens remain soft, receptive and as inviting to golfers as greens for a major championship ever could be.
Before the tournament started, Kentucky native Kenny Perry said he could see the winning score reaching as low as 15 under par. It seemed a bold claim at the time, but with third-round leader Rory McIlroy on 13 under par, and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger one shot back, 15 under par looks like a modest target now.
“It is going to be a shootout,” said McIlroy after preserving his one-shot lead with a round of 67, four under par, yesterday. “The conditions are soft and you know you’re going to have to make birdies to try and win.”
The lowest score to par in PGA Championship history is held by Tiger Woods and Bob May, when they both shot 270, 18 under par here at Valhalla in 2000. That was when Valhalla had a par of 72, whereas its par is 71 this week. The lowest PGA Championship score to par on a par-71 course is 267, 17 under par, by Steve Elkington and Colin Montgomerie at Riviera Country Club in California in 1995. Australian Elkington would defeat Montgomerie in a play-off at Riviera, having set a tournament record for the lowest final round by a winner, of 64, seven-under-par.
McIlroy, who has posted rounds of 66-67-67 so far this week, needs a round of 65, six under par, today, to break that 18-under scoring record held by Woods and May. If the 25-year-old Northern Irishman can do that – particularly on a par-71 course – surely it would be a winning performance.
Incidentally, Woods is the last player to have posted four sub-70 rounds in a PGA Championship, and there are nine players in the field today who could add their names to that list.
Robin Barwick travelled to the PGA Championship courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz is the official car of the PGA Championship