European quartet mounting title challenge

14/08/2011 21:31:17
Robert Karlsson  (Getty Images)
Robert Karlsson (Getty Images)
Robert Karlsson, Anders Hansen, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood were still in the hunt as the US PGA Championship, golf's final Major of the season, entered its final stages in Atlanta.

World Number One Donald, so annoyed at himself for double-bogeying the last hole of his third round and falling six behind, was only three back after playing his first 12 holes in four under.

World Number Two Westwood, also striving for his first Major title, was just one further behind at the same stage.

American Jason Dufner, without a win in 147 starts on the US PGA Tour, was the man they were chasing.

Joint overnight leader with compatriot Brendan Steele, the 34 year old World Number 80 parred the first five holes and then pitched to five feet to move to eight under par.

Dufner was one ahead of Keegan Bradley - like Steele playing the first Major of his career, but nephew of six-Major winner Pat Bradley - and three in front of not only Donald, but also Scott Verplank, Swede Karlsson and Dane Hansen as the European challenge came into real life at last.

They all had to play the fearsome four-hole closing stretch, of course.

Dufner went two in front with a 25 footer at the eighth - after his drive had luckily skipped over a bunker like Darren Clarke at The Open Championship - and moments later Donald hit the shot which almost certainly ended his hopes.

The short 15th was playing 259 yards, longer than it had all week, and he found the lake right of the green.

Although he saved bogey with a pitch and putt he was five behind like Westwood. Behind them, though, Karlsson hit a towering iron to five feet on the 560 yard 12th and holed for an eagle that brought him only one off the lead - and six under for the day, by far the best score.