Duo in the hunt in Atlanta
Luke Donald and Lee Westwood were still not out of it as the USPGA Championship, golf's final major of the season, entered its final stages in Atlanta today.
World number one Donald, so annoyed at himself for double-bogeying the last hole of his third round and falling six behind, was only three back after playing his first 12 holes in four under.
The world's second best player, Westwood, also striving for his first major title, was just one further behind at the same stage. Little-known American Jason Dufner, without a win in 147 starts on the PGA Tour, was the man they were chasing.
Joint overnight leader with compatriot Brendan Steele, the 34-year-old world number 80 parred the first five holes and then pitched to five feet to move to eight under par.
Dufner was one ahead of Keegan Bradley - like Steele playing the first major of his career, but nephew of six-major winner Pat Bradley - and three in front of not only Donald, but also Scott Verplank, Swede Robert Karlsson and Dane Anders Hansen as the European challenge came into real life at last.
They all had to play the fearsome four-hole closing stretch, of course, and that had been dubbed "Calamity Lane" after all the dropped shots during the week. Rory McIlroy was safely through it, even grabbing a birdie at the 507-yard par four 18th for the second day running, but his mind was turning to tennis rather than golf as the title race hotted up.
McIlroy was left with bitter memories of one hole in particular as he shot 74 today in what is likely to be his last round in America for over six months. The 22-year-old US Open champion played Atlanta Athletic Club's 475-yard third in six over par - and the other 17 in the same score.
Not only that, but it was also where he injured his right arm hitting against a tree root in the opening round of the season's final major.
McIlroy triple-bogeyed it in his last round, going over the green from a bunker and then three-putting from three feet, as he finished well outside the top 50 in an event he went into as clear favourite.
The Northern Ireland star is rejoining the PGA Tour next season, but his next appearance on the circuit may not be until the WGC-Accenture Match Play in late February.