COMMENTARY: Bunker ruling scars PGA Championship
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (USA) – There was an Aussie atop the leaderboard at the U.S. PGA Championship with a realistic chance of winning the year’s last major. But, it wasn’t the youngster Jason Day, who shot 66 Saturday at Whistling Straits to start the final round tied for fourth.
Instead, it was a veteran whom many haven’t heard from in a while.
If you’re wondering how Steve Elkington, 47, sneaked up the leaderboard this week, look no further than his third round on Saturday, when he carded six birdies on the back nine to finish with a 67.
The 1995 PGA champion added to that magic Sunday.
Elkington two-putted for a birdie on the par-5 16th, joining Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer in a three-way tie for the lead. Day, 22, was just a shot from leader Kaymer, but a double bogey at the ninth ended his shot for a first major as he dropped to 8 under, finishing T-10.
But back-to back-bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18 ended Elkington’s hopes, too. His tee shot on the par-3 17 appeared perfect as it hit the green, but it rolled off and he failed to save par.
Elkington had his chances late Sunday.
He gritted his teeth on 15 after he lipped-out a short putt for birdie, which would have given him a share of the lead at 11 under. On 16, he missed an eagle by inches and had to settle for birdie.
“I hit a real good putt that looked like it went through the hole,” said Elkington.
“That was agony, to be honest with you – painful.”
The Australian, who finished runner-up at the 2005 PGA Championship, had a birdie opportunity on 18 to get to 11 under – and a playoff shot – but instead three-putted from 60-some feet. He finished tied for fifth at 9-under 279 with Americans Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner.
From what he showed this weekend, he looks like he’s got a lot to offer before he’s eligible for the Champions Tour.
“Over the course of a long career, you can’t be up all the time but I have more energy for golf now than I’ve had in a few years, because I see the Champions Tour is about three years away,” Elkington said. “I don’t think of myself as an old guy. I still play good.”