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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
Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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