Jason Day, Jim Furyk share Barclays lead
Final round shapes up as a shootout with 15 players separated by three shots
Jim Furyk doesn't see another chance to fail, only another chance to win.
Seven times since Furyk last won at the 2010 Tour Championship, he has had at least a share of the 54-hole lead and seven times he has failed to convert.
He gave himself yet another opportunity Saturday with a bogey-free round of 2-under 69 that left him tied with Jason Day going into the final round at The Barclays.
Nervous? Motivated? Determined?
"Excited about one more opportunity," Furyk said.
This one is not his to lose. It's for just about everyone to win.
As steady as Furyk was on a cloudy Saturday at Ridgewood, Day was all over the place. He lost a ball in a mound of high grass and took double bogey on the par-5 13th, the third-easiest hole at Ridgewood in the third round. He took four shots to get down from a bunker on the par-5 17th for a bogey.
Each time, the Australian bounced back with one or more birdies. Day, who has made 13 birdies the past two days, wound up with a 68.
They were at 9-under 204. And they had a lot of company.
Fifteen players were separated by three shots going into the final round, an eclectic group that features players trying to get into the top 100 to advance to the second event in the FedEx Cup playoffs (Morgan Hoffmann, Bo Van Pelt, Gonzalo Fernandez Castano) to players with far more experience (Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar).
A few notable players were missing from that group.
Adam Scott, tied for the lead going into the third round, made only one bogey and shot 75 to fall five shots behind. British Open and PGA champion Rory McIlroy, going after his fourth straight victory, made an early move before he was slowed by a pair of bogeys around the turn. He could only manage a 70 and was five behind.
Phil Mickelson was headed home.
For only the second time in six years, the 54-hole cut was used during the FedEx Cup playoff. Mickelson shot 75 and did not advance.
For only the second time in six years, the 54-hole cut was used during the FedEx Cup playoff. Mickelson shot 75 and did not advance. Still unclear was whether he would play next week in the second playoff event outside Boston. If he doesn't, Mickelson could risk failing to advance to the third event in Denver.
Mickelson still managed to keep it entertaining. For the second straight day, his tee shot on the par-4 fifth hole wound up on the terrace of a grandstand left of the green. He played it off the carpet, and at least this time saved par. But it wasn't enough to save him.
'A little bit of a shootout'
There were wild shifts in momentum, birdies and bogeys everywhere at Ridgewood. Through it all, Furyk was a steady presence. He picked up his only two birdies on the back nine and saved par with a long bunker shot to tap-in range on the 18th to get into a familiar position.
Now all he has to do is change the result.
He has lost chances at a World Golf Championship and two majors. His last opportunity was a month ago in the Canadian Open, when only a few players had a realistic chance to win. Tim Clark beat him one shot.
This was one is different.
"There's a ton of guys between 5- and 9-under par," Furyk said. "Going to be a little bit of a shootout tomorrow.
"So I'm happy to be at 9 [under] and looking forward to it. Had some opportunities this year and I felt like I've played well on Sunday."
'No extra motivation needed'
Without winning, it has been a strong year. Furyk has three runner-up finishes, eight top 10s and already has cleared $4.6 million. He's on the Ryder Cup team for the ninth straight time, one short of the American record held by Mickelson.
That glaring streak — 0-for-7 when he's been atop the leaderboard going into Sunday since his last win — is not on his mind.
"It's done, it's over," he said. "I've thought about those situations and how I could handle them better.
"Just put it behind me and try to use it to my advance. I don't need any motivation sitting tied for the lead in a big golf tournament on a golf course that I really enjoy playing and have a lot of respect for.
"No extra motivation needed. I'm just happy to be in a good spot and looking forward to tomorrow."
'It's been a stop-start year'
Day already has a victory this year — the Match Play Championship in February — though he has reason to feel it has been a lost year. He injured his thumb and didn't play again until the Masters, and then missed six more weeks. He is healthy now, though he hasn't been in contention in six months.
"It's been a stop-start year," Day said. "To be able to work hard and get yourself into contention, maybe to even win the FedEx Cup at the end of the playoffs, would cap off a great year.
"There's still a lot of good golf ahead of me."