By Andrew Both
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (Reuters) – Benign circumstances greeted the early starters on the PGA Championship, however a stiffening breeze forecast for the afternoon ought to set the stage for a compelling closing spherical on Sunday as Phil Mickelson makes an attempt to grow to be golf’s oldest main champion.
Mickelson, 50, tees off at 2.30 p.m. native time (1830) accompanied by fellow American Brooks Koepka within the closing heavyweight pairing at Kiawah Island.
Mickelson, at seven-under-par 209, leads Koepka by one shot, with South African Louis Oosthuizen two again.
The final result on Sunday will assist decide every participant’s legacy.
A Mickelson win wouldn’t solely make him the oldest main champion, however would be a sixth main title, and would elevate his standing provided that he has been performed most of his profession within the shadow of Tiger Woods.
On the opposite hand, a twelfth main runner-up end would underline what may need been if not for a shot right here or there.
A Koepka victory would be his fifth main, drawing stage with Mickelson on the all-time checklist on the younger age of 31, and setting the stage for him to grow to be one of many recreation’s undisputed greats.
Oosthuizen, in the meantime, lurks as a possible gatecrasher to the American celebration.
He could double his main tally, following the 2010 British Open, and put behind him the frustration of near-misses which have included runner-up finishes in all 4 majors, two of them in playoffs.
The first participant to complete on Sunday, Brian Gay, shot 78, however a number of of the early starters had been going low in ideally suited circumstances.
However, the wind is forecast to spring up earlier than the leaders tee off, and blow strongly for the remainder of the afternoon out of the south-west, a path the gamers haven’t skilled all week.
This will make holes six-through-13 play into the wind, however will supply some respite over the ultimate 5 holes, which performed into the tooth of an easterly breeze within the first two rounds.
The course has been arrange at 7,557 yards, almost 150 yards shorter than on Saturday, although a lot of this discount in distance comes on the par-four third, which has been shortened by greater than 80 yards to encourage gamers to attempt to drive the inexperienced.
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Toby Davis)