Third-round viewer's guide


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Five feature pairings
10:55 am: Tiger Woods (+6), Jim Furyk (+6)

Seems like this should be the final group of the day, but neither has really played well this week. Woods' 74-72 opening is his worst ever at the PGA, and he's nine strokes back in 39th place. You'd have to think that would be too much ground to make up the way the course is playing, but with Tiger you can never say never.

2:15 pm: Phil Mickelson (+1), Timothy Clark (+2)

Lefty got it to 5-under at one point Friday, then lost all control off the tee. He played his last 14 holes at 6-over, which doesn't bode well for his Saturday outlook. Still, he's just four off the lead despite the meltdown. If he can keep it in play he'd have a chance to at least make a run at ending the 0-for-45 streak in majors.

2:45 pm ET: Ernie Els (+1), Jose Coceres (+1)
Els was kicking himself after his three-putt, double-bogey finish to an otherwise stellar round (70) Friday. Had he made par on that 18th hole, he'd be at 1-under and in the final group of the day with unlikely leader Shaun Micheel. Still, he's within four shots and in great position to make a run. He'll be paired with Jose Coceres, who had Friday's low round (tied with Micheel) with his 68.

2:55 pm: Mike Weir (-1), Rod Pampling (Even)

Weir found a groove in the middle of his second round, getting it to 3-under before bogeying his final two holes. Despite the flop at the finish, he's got to be happy with his position, as the players around him have relatively little experience leading majors. Pampling is fortunate to be within two shots of the lead after his round of 74 Friday. He was facing at least a bogey, probably a double, on the 18th, but holed a 150-yard shot from the fairway for a look-what-I-found par.

3:05 pm: Shaun Micheel (-3), Billy Andrade (-1)
In this year of weirdness in the majors, it's appropriate that Saturday's final group contains a couple of underdogs. Micheel, playing in his third major and first PGA, came from nowhere to birdie four of his last five holes Friday and take a two-stroke lead. He's led just one PGA Tour event after 36 holes -- the 2002 B.C. Open -- but couldn't close it out (he finished third). With 16 players within five strokes, the odds aren't in his favor at Oak Hill. Andrade, meanwhile, was the third alternate a week ago, and is now in prime position heading into the weekend. After posting his 72 early Friday, he watched as the leaders crumbled around him and he ended up one of just three players in red numbers.

Keep an eye on ...
Is a break coming?: The weather for tomorrow is supposed to remain hot and steamy, but a chance of scattered thunderstorms could cool things off a bit and make the course a little more manageable for the players. If the rains stay away, however, expect scores to keep climbing as the course bakes under the sun and becomes even more unforgiving.

Moving Day: Twenty-four players are within six shots of the lead heading into the weekend. Expect Saturday to be the day the cream rises to the top and the pretenders get left behind.

Conservative play: These guys realize that the winning score probably isn't going to be too far below par, if at all, so expect them to play the weekend like they would at a U.S. Open: conservatively. The player who will be left holding the Wanamaker Trophy will be the one who makes the least number of mistakes. Par is a good score on any hole at Oak Hill.

Stamina: You saw a robust (or is it rotund?) Tim Herron take the lead early in Friday's second round, then collapse down the stretch with four bogeys on his final seven holes. With two days of 85-degree heat and humidity and the pressure of a major, guys get tired and break down. Players who aren't in decent physical condition will have a tougher time avoiding exhaustion on a course that's difficult enough on its own. And don't discount the sweat factor: "I think the heat earlier on today was the hardest part to deal with because you sweat so much out there," Aussie Adam Scott said. "The hands were slippery and it was hard to hold on to the club. I can't imagine how difficult this course would be if it was windy. We've had ideal conditions and there's hardly anybody under par."

David Lefort is the golf editor at ESPN.com, and can be reached at david.m.lefort@espn3.com.