A two under par 68 on Saturday kept Lee Westwood’s dream of capturing a maiden Major Championship alive at the US PGA Championship.
With a strong breeze helping Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course to finally reveal its teeth, some high scoring brought a number of players back into contention in the season’s final Major, including Westwood, who had dropped three shots in the last two holes of his second round 73 to start the day eight off the lead.
The 40 year old Englishman looked to have put that disappointing finish behind him on Saturday, however, making five birdies and three bogeys in a fine round that propelled him back into a tie for seventh at three under par alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy, who also had a resurgent third day in Rochester.
“I can't say I wasn't delighted to see a bit of a breeze blowing this morning,” said Westwood. “I didn't want to go out throwing darts out there again. I wanted it to have some teeth to it really.
“It's a lot dryer today and obviously there's a bit more wind, which makes this golf course a lot trickier. That’s why you’re not seeing the same low scores today; it's a good test out there.”
This is Westwood’s 63rd attempt to win his first Major Championship, having led by two shots heading into the final round at The Open Championship at Muirfield last month before a majestic last day performance from eventual victor Phil Mickelson relegated the Worksop man into a tie for third place.
It was the 11th time in five years that Westwood placed inside the top ten at a Major, in a period that has included two runner-up spots and a further six top three finishes, but the former World Number One chose to put a positive spin on his recent heartache on the eve of the US PGA’s denouement.
He continued: “You don't know what's going to happen in the last round of a Major so I’m not giving up hope just yet.
“I'm definitely hitting the ball better than I was at Muirfield. Obviously I haven’t putted as well as I did at Muirfield this week but it’s another Sunday and another chance.
“You saw what happened when I had the lead in the last one and Phil was four, five behind. So anything is possible on the Sunday of a Major.”