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Mickelson, Woods falter at PGA Championship as Furyk takes lead

Story highlights

  • Phil Mickelson falls out of contention at the PGA Championship after a 78
  • Tiger Woods' drought at majors appears likely to continue after his round of 73 at Oak Hill
  • Jim Furyk leads through three rounds, one shot better than Jason Dufner
  • Defending champion Rory McIlroy hit a three-under 67 and is six shots behind Furyk

They are the two highest-ranked golfers in the world but it looks like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson won't be anywhere near the top of the leaderboard when the PGA Championship ends.

Woods, the No. 1, and fellow American Mickelson, the No. 2, had plenty of work to do heading into the third round at the year's final major, 10 and 11 shots behind overnight leader Jason Dufner, respectively.

And any hopes of a comeback for Mickelson evaporated as he had one of the worst rounds of his career in a major, carding an eight-over-par 78 at Oak Hill.

It was a much better day for another American, Jim Furyk, who leads through three rounds at nine-under 201. Dufner slipped up and trails by a shot, with Swede Henrik Stenson two behind Furyk.

Furyk, whose lone major came 10 years ago at the U.S. Open, finished at two-under 68 on Saturday.

By the time Mickelson's round ended, he was in 74th of 75 golfers who survived the cut.

    Less than three weeks ago, Mickelson won the British Open to ease the pain of finishing second for a sixth time at the U.S. Open in June.

    "I've been swinging well this year and hitting shots easy, but these last two weeks after taking a week off after the British Open it just hasn't quite clicked," Mickelson told the Golf Channel. "I'm going to take a week off and start fresh."

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    Mickelson's round started well enough -- he didn't drop a shot through two holes and birdied the third.

    Then things began to unravel. He bogeyed the fourth, triple-bogeyed the seventh and dropped another shot at the ninth.

    Mickelson managed to steady himself temporarily but then struck a double-bogey and three bogeys in four of his last five holes.

    Woods crushed the field at last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, seemingly the perfect preparation for the PGA Championship.

    His fans hoped that Oak Hill would be the place where Woods' five-year drought at majors came to an end.

    But Woods, stuck on 14 majors, hit four bogeys and only one birdie in his 73.

    "It's just one of those weeks where I didn't quite hit it well enough and didn't make enough putts," Woods, 13 shots worse off than Furyk, told reporters. "That's golf. We don't play well every week."

    Read: Woods shoots 61

    U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, ranked fourth, also fell off the pace.

    Three shots behind Dufner, the Englishman endured a nightmarish first seven holes as the course got tougher Saturday, totaling two double-bogeys and three bogeys. He concluded the round at 77.

    While Woods, Mickelson and Rose struggled, defending champion Rory McIlroy finally had reason to smile.

    In a slump in 2013 -- his results at the majors have gone from tied for 25th to tied for 41st to tied for 116th -- the Northern Irishman tallied a three-under 67 to put him in contention on the final day.

    He is six shots adrift of Furyk.

    McIlroy won last year's tournament by eight shots, a record margin.

    "I felt good enough about my game that I could go out there and post a good one today and at least give myself a chance going into (Sunday)," the world No. 3 told reporters.

    Dufner -- who blew a late lead at the 2011 PGA Championship -- was unable to match Friday's sizzling 63 that tied the best round ever at a major. He hit a 71.

    Masters champion Adam Scott is within touching distance of Furyk, tied for fifth and four shots behind.