Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Austrian Bernd Wiesberger 1 shot off PGA lead

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bernd Wiesberger is an accomplished skier. But at the moment, he would like to be better known for his golf.

The 28-year-old European Tour member has that chance today when he goes off in the final pairing of the PGA Championship, one shot behind leader Rory McIlroy, after following up back-to-back 68s with 6-under 65 in the third round Saturday to reach 12-under 201.

"I've not been in contention in a major championship, so I don't know how it's going to turn out," said Wiesberger, who didn't even have a round under par in five career majors entering this week. "I'm just trying to enjoy as I did (Saturday). I was in a great situation going into the round, and I felt quite calm. I'm friends with Rory, and I'm sure it's going to be a nice situation out there (today) again."

Wiesberger (his full name is pronounced BEHR-nt Vees-burger) also has never won on the PGA Tour in seven starts. He has two European Tour wins.

Wiesberger was introduced to golf as a toddler in Oberwart, population 7,000, about an hour and a half east of Vienna, where his father owned a sporting goods store. After winning several amateur tournaments, he broke his collarbone in a 2003 skiing accident that nearly derailed his golfing career. He still skis when his schedule allows.

Austrian trivia: The best finish by an Austrian in a major is by Markus Brier, who tied for 12th at the 2007 British Open.

Stat of the day: This was the 16th time since 2010 McIlroy has led following a round in a major. Nobody else has done it more than five times in that span, the Golf Channel says.

'lefty' back in mix: Phil Mickelson is feeling a lot better about his longest winless streak since 2003. He birdied four of his last five holes to keep himself in contention for his sixth major title, shooting 4-under 67 that left him three shots behind McIlroy.

"I've put myself in a position now where if I … play the way I feel I can and shoot the number I believe I can, I'm in a position to win the golf tournament," said Mickelson, 44, whose last win came at the 2013 British Open. "That's what feels good."

"I'm certainly going to feel some pressure (today) because I want to have the opportunity to make up for the entire year in one round."

Ryder Cup spots on line: Also at stake today are three automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Qualifying for the top nine ends after the final round.

Six players —Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth — already have accrued enough points to lock up spots.

Ryder Cup points are double at majors, so players receive two points for every $1,000 earned, meaning a victory (and, in some cases, a runner­up finish) by any U.S. player not among the top nine will automatically put him on the team.

In spots seven through 10 entering today: Patrick Reed, Jason Dufner (who withdrew Thursday with health issues he said will keep him out indefinitely), Zach Johnson and Mickelson.

Captain Tom Watson will announce his three wild-card picks Sept. 2. contributed to this report.