Australia’s Adam Scott on the 11th on day three of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Picture Fran Caffrey 2011 WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS-BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL

(The 34th of 37 events in the PGA TOUR Regular Season)

Firestone Country Club, South Course, Akron, OH
Par/Yards: 35-35—70/7,400August 3-7, 2011
FedExCup Pts: 550 Purse: $8,500,000

Third-Round Notes – Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weather: Due to the threat of bad weather, starting times were moved up and players teed off No.1 and No. 10 tees in threesomes from 7-9 a.m. The weather was mostly cloudy throughout the morning and early afternoon, with temperatures in the low to mid-80s and winds SW 5-10 mph.

Third-Round Leaderboard Age
Adam Scott 198 (-12) 31
Ryo Ishikawa 199 (-11) 19
Jason Day 199 (-11) 23
Keegan Bradley 200 (-10) 25
Martin Laird 200 (-10) 28
Luke Donald 201 (-9) 33
Fredrik Jacobson 201 (-9) 36
Rickie Fowler 201 (-9) 22
Zach Johnson 202 (-8) 35

The average age of the age of the last four winners of World Golf Championships events (Nick Watney, Luke Donald, Francesco Molinari and Hunter Mahan) is 29 years, 1 month and 6 days. The prior six winners of World Golf Championships (Ernie Els, Ian Poulter, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods) had an average age of 36 years and 6 months.

There have been 12 different players in their 20s and 12 different players in their 30s win on TOUR this season. Since 2000, there has not been a point in a TOUR season (except when Sergio won the season opening Mercedes Championship in 2002) when there were more different players in their 20s with wins than different players in their 30s.

The third-round leader/co-leader has won seven of 12 times at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, but not since 2008 when Vijay Singh won after finishing 54 holes tied with Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood.

The largest come-from-behind win at the Bridgestone Invitational (of the five in event history) was in 2009 when Tiger Woods won after trailing by three shots heading into the final round; and in 2010, when Hunter Mahan was three back after 54 holes.

Hunter Mahan was T7 after the third round last year before coming back to win his first World Golf Championships event, representing the largest jump in tournament history.

In the 12-year history of the Bridgestone Invitational, only three times has a player won by recording all four rounds in the 60s:

2000 Tiger Woods 64-61-67-67
2001 Tiger Woods 66-67-66-69
2008 Vijay Singh 67-66-69-68
Eight players have a chance to match that feat tomorrow:

Ryo Ishikawa 67-68-64
Keegan Bradley 67-65-68
Martin Laird 66-67-67
Luke Donald 68-69-64
Fredrik Jacobson 68-66-67
Rickie Fowler 68-64-69
Rory McIlroy 68-68-67
David Toms 68-68-68

Thirteen players have recorded all four rounds in the 60s at the Bridgestone Invitational but did not win:

2000 Phillip Price 66-69-66-69 T2
2000 Jim Furyk 65-69-69-68 T4
2001 Darren Clarke 66-68-68-69 3
2002 Fred Funk 68-68-68-68 T2
2003 Robert Allenby 69-69-68-69 T6
2003 Jim Furyk 69-69-68-69 T6
2004 Lee Westwood 69-69-69-69 T9
2006 Jim Furyk 69-65-69-68 3
2006 Lucas Glover 66-69-69-69 T4
2009 Robert Allenby 68-69-69-66 T2
2009 Stewart Cink 69-69-68-68 T6
2010 Bo Van Pelt 67-68-69-67 T3
2010 Rory McIlroy 68-69-69-69 T9

Several players on the leaderboard have a shot at becoming the youngest winner in the history of the World Golf Championships (age on Sunday):

Ryo Ishikawa, 19 years, 10 months, 21 days
Rory McIlroy, 22 years, 3 months, 3 days
Rickie Fowler, 22 years, 7 months, 25 days

Youngest winners of World Golf Championships Events:

Tiger Woods 1999 Bridgestone Invitational 23 years, 7 months, 30 days

Tiger Woods 1999 Cadillac Championship 23 years, 10 months, 8 days

Tiger Woods 2000 Bridgestone Invitational 24 years, 7 months, 28 days

Tiger Woods 2001 Bridgestone Invitational 25 years, 7 months, 27 days

Tiger Woods 2002 Cadillac Championship 26 years, 8 months, 23 days

Tiger Woods 2003 Accenture Match Play 27 years, 2 months, 2 days

Tiger Woods 2003 Cadillac Championship 27 years, 9 months, 5 days

Francesco Molinari 2010 HSBC Champions 27 years, 11 months, 30 days

Only twice in history, have multiple players 22-and-under won in the same season. Rory McIlory won the U.S. Open this year at age of 22 years, 1 month, 15 days. If Ishikawa, Fowler or McIlroy were to go onto victory it would be the third season that multiple players 22-and-under won.

2010: Jason Day and Rory McIlroy

2001: David Gossett and Sergio Garcia (2 events)

Adam Scott – In field via 2010 Barclays Singapore Open victory

Adam Scott broke up a crowded leaderboard – that had as many as six players tied for the lead at one point – with a 66 (-4) in round three, including three birdies over the last five holes. He takes a one-shot lead into the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational.

His only lead in a World Golf Championships event coming into this week was after the first round of the Bridgestone Invitational in 2006 (finished T10). He’s now led/shared the lead through the first three rounds of the Bridgestone Invitational. Scott, who has seven PGA TOUR wins, has never led or shared the lead in all three rounds of a PGA TOUR event and gone on to win. He’s won following a 54-hole lead five times in his career, most recently at the 2008 EDS Byron Nelson Championship.

Scott is currently No. 50 in the FedExCup standings. A win would move him to No. 16 and almost guaranteed a spot in the season ending TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. He won at East Lake in 2006, the year before the FedExCup began, but has only qualified for the PGA TOUR Playoffs finale twice in the past four years.

This is Scott’s ninth time playing at the Bridgestone Invitational. In his eight previous starts at Firestone Country Club, the Australian has only finished under par twice (2006 -5, 2010 -5).

This is the fourth event that Steve Williams has caddied for Adam Scott. Williams was on the bag for Tiger Woods for all of his seven victories at the Bridgestone Invitational.

Scott is ranked No. 4 in the International Presidents Cup Team standings and will be making his fifth appearance in the event held in November in his home country of Australia. Scott is in no need of one of Greg Norman’s captain’s picks, as he had to rely on for the 2009 event when he finished ranked No. 14 in the standings.

Scott is looking to become the third Australian to win a World Golf Championships event, joining Geoff Ogilvy (2006 and 2009 Accenture Match Play Championship) and Craig Parry (2002 Bridgestone Invitational). Since 1983, Australia is the second-winningest country on the PGA TOUR outside of the United States, (1,014 and 75 wins, respectively).

Ryo Ishikawa – In the field via No. 49 in OWGR as of July 25

Trailing leader Adam Scott by one stroke and T2 with Jason Day heading into the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational, Ryo Ishikawa is in the best position of his career at a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event (25 total starts) after 54 holes. His previous-best standing following the third round was T7 at the 2010 U.S. Open Championship, where he eventually finished T33 after an 80 (+9) on Sunday.

A win tomorrow would make Ishikawa the second-youngest winner in PGA TOUR history, exactly one week older than Johnny McDermott was when he won the 1911 U.S. Open at the age of 19 years, 10 months, 14 days.

In March, Ishikawa pledged to donate all of his earnings in 2011 to help the survivors of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated his Japan’s Pacific coast. He is also donating $1,200 for every birdie he makes. His goal is to generate 200 million yen ($2.4 million); the first prize at the Bridgestone Invitational is $1.4 million. Thus far this season, Ishikawa’s earnings and birdie pledges have totaled $927,375 (not including this week).

Ishikawa is gunning for an automatic spot on Norman’s squad for the November 2011 event in Australia. He’s currently ranked No. 13 in the International Team standings, with the top 10 automatically making the team on Sept. 18. In 2009, Ishikawa was one of Norman’s captain’s picks (with Adam Scott). He was ranked No. 20 in the standings at the time the team was finalized.

Ishikawa has recorded 11 victories on the Japan Golf Tour, but has yet to win an event on the PGA TOUR schedule. He is looking to join the following players who recorded their first PGA TOUR win at a World Golf Championships event: Accenture Match Play Championship: Ian Poulter 2010, Henrik Stenson 2007, Kevin Sutherland 2002, Darren Clarke 2000; HSBC Champions: Francesco Molinari 2010.

Jason Day – In the field via No. 8 in OWGR as of July 25

Following rounds of 63-70-66, Jason Day finds himself just one shot off of fellow countryman Adam Scott’s lead at the Bridgestone Invitational. This is only the second time Day has been within one of the lead after 54 holes in his short PGA TOUR career; he’s looking for a better result than the previous time, at the 2008 Turning Stone Championship, where he was one off the lead heading into the final round but shot 75 (+3) on Sunday to finish T19.

Day, 23, has seven top-10 finishes on the PGA TOUR this year, including runner-up finishes at the Masters and the U.S. Open.

Day and Fowler are the only two players in the top 10 who managed to birdie the 18th hole in round three. Day’s approach landed just 6-1/2 feet from the pin and he knocked the putt in for birdie. Day made birdie on No. 18 on Thursday and bogey on Friday.

Day is 13th in the FedExCup standings and No. 1 in the International Presidents Cup Team standings.

Should he win tomorrow, Jason Day would be the second-youngest in World Golf Championships history at the age of 23 years, 8 months, 26 days.

Keegan Bradley – In the field via win at HP Byron Nelson Championship

Rookie Keegan Bradley, 67-65-68, is two shots back from Adam Scott’s 54-hole lead at the Bridgestone Invitational. Bradley has recorded three straight rounds in the 60s only once before in his rookie season, at the Bob Hope Classic, a five-round tournament. He shot 66-67-68-66-70 in the final round and finished T7.

Bradley’s win at the HP Byron Nelson Championship was in come-from-behind fashion, as he trailed by four shots entering the final round, eventually defeating Ryan Palmer in a sudden-death playoff. Before this week, his best position heading into a final round was three shots off the lead at the Bob Hope Classic, where he eventually finished T7.

Bradley, Brendan Steele, Gary Woodland, Jae-Bum Park, Harrison Frazar and Scott Stallings are playing in their first career World Golf Championships event. No player, other than Jeff Maggert, who won the first-ever WGC event, has won a World Golf Championships tournament in his first start.

Henrik Stenson is the only rookie to win a World Golf Championships event (2007 Accenture Match Play Championship). The last rookie to win multiple events in a season on TOUR was Todd Hamilton in 2004.

Bradley will be 25 years, 2 months old tomorrow; a win would make him the fourth-youngest World Golf Championships winner in the 13-year history of the series.

Bradley is currently No. 25 in the FedExCup, with his sights set on making the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, the finale in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. In the four previous installments of the FedExCup, only five rookies have managed to qualify for the Playoffs: Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy in 2010; Marc Leishman (2009); Andres Romero (2008); and Brandt Snedeker (2007). Leishman, Romero and Snedeker advanced through to the TOUR Championship, and Romero and Snedeker went on to win Rookie of the Year on the PGA TOUR in 2008 and 2007, respectively.

Bradley is No. 39 in the U.S. Team Presidents Cup standings. A win this week would most likely move him into the top 15. The top 10 automatically make the team following the BMW Championship, Sept. 18, with two captain’s picks named Sept. 26 (after the TOUR Championship).

Martin Laird – In the field via win at Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard

Scotland’s Martin Laird moved into contention thanks to a third round the 60s this week (66-67-67), giving him five consecutive rounds in the 60s at the Bridgestone Invitational, dating back to the last two rounds of the 2010 event (70-71-68-68, finished T16). He’s T4 heading into the final round, two shots off of Adam Scott’s lead.

Luke Donald – In the field via win three wins and 2010 Ryder Cup

Despite a bogey on the closing hole in round three, England’s Luke Donald is in contention to win his second World Golf Championships title of the year (Accenture Match Play Championship). Only Phil Mickelson (2009 Cadillac Championship, HSBC Champions) and Tiger Woods (three different seasons) have won more than one World Golf Championships event in a season.

Fredrik Jacobson – In the field via win at Travelers Championship

At 36, Fredrik Jacobson is the elder statesmen among a group of young guns on the leaderboard. The Swede recently picked up his first PGA TOUR win at the 2011 Travelers Championship after 188 starts, and that victory brought him back to a World Golf Championships field for the first time since the 2008 Bridgestone Invitational.

Entering this week, Jacobson’s career scoring average at the Bridgestone Invitational was an unimpressive two-over par 72 (12 rounds). He had only recorded two rounds under par in those previous three starts. This week, he’s at 201 (-9), having recorded all three rounds thus far in the 60s: 68-66-67.

Miscellaneous Notes

Reigning FedExCup champion Jim Furyk made an ace on No. 5 in the third round, holing out from 200 yards with a 6-iron. It’s the first hole in one on No. 5 in event history, but it’s Furyk’s second at the Bridgestone Invitational (No. 15, 2nd round, 2006). The only other ace made during the Bridgestone Invitational was by Stewart Cink (No. 15, 4th round, 2000).

Rickie Fowler recorded his second eagle of the tournament, holing out a sand wedge on No. 11 from 95 yards. Fowler hit a gap wedge from 109 yards on the par-4 third hole for eagle during the second eagle.

Bubba Watson hit a 415-yard drive on the par-5 16th hole during the third round, putting him T2 for longest drives of the season.

Rank Player Distance Tournament Round Hole Course

1 Derek Lamely 419 The Greenbrier 2 7 The Old White TPC

2 Bubba Watson 415 Bridgestone Invitational 3 16 Firestone Country Club

2 J.B. Holmes 415 Valero Texas Open 2 10 TPC San Antonio

3 Gary Woodland 409 HP Byron Nelson 3 1 TPC Four Seasons Resort

4 Chris Couch 408 Arnold Palmer 1 5 Bay Hill Club & Lodge

5 Steve Flesch 404 The Greenbrier 3 7 The Old White TPC

Players in the Bridgestone Invitational field looking to move inside the top 125 to qualify for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup:

Player FedExCup rank (through Greenbrier) Current Position at Bridgestone

Padraig Harrington 128 T57

Ernie Els 132 T51

Tiger Woods 135 T38

Louis Oosthuizen 147 T42

Paul Casey 149 T62

Bogey-free rounds:

Round 1 – Adam Scott (62), Jason Day (63), Thomas Bjorn (66), Luke Donald (68)

Round 2 – Francesco Molinari (64), Keegan Bradley (65), Gary Woodland (66), Hennie Otto (66), Edoardo Molinari (66) and Richard Green (68).

Round 3 – Ryo Ishikawa (64), Matt Kuchar (65), Kyung-Tae Kim (66), Martin Laird (67).

Course scoring averages

Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative

Thursday 34.421 35.211 69.632 —-

Friday 35.105 34.788 69.893 69.762

Saturday 35.289 35.434 70.724 70.088