Bridgestone Invitational 2012: Golfers with Best Chance to Catch Jim Furyk

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2012

AKRON, OH - AUGUST 04:  Jim Furyk lines up a putt on the sixth green during the third round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 4, 2012 in Akron, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Bridgestone Invitational 2012 final round is set to get underway in Akron on Sunday morning, and a couple of golfers will have the opportunity to overtake leader Jim Furyk.

Furyk, who shot an 11-under through three rounds, currently holds a one-shot lead over Louis Oosthuizen, but he will face challenges from other golfers on the final day of the tournament. ESPN's leaderboard shows five players separated by only five strokes.

The American has struggled to finish high on the leaderboard for most of the past few years, so it will not be a surprise if another golfer outplays him on Sunday. While he enters the day leading, he will need to deal with the pressure of holding the top spot.

If he falters, who will take advantage of the opportunity?


Rory McIlroy

Heading into this year's tournament, Rory McIlroy hoped to continue his success at this event. He has finished no lower than tied for ninth in either of the past two years, and he has continued his solid play so far this weekend.

He opened the tournament with an even par in the first round, but he has had back-to-back rounds of three-under par. His consecutive days of shooting a 67 has him among the leaders and in perfect position to make a run at the title.

In 2012, he has fared very well at a few tournaments. He finished second at the Accenture Match Play Championship and third at the Cadillac Championship.

McIlroy has struggled in major tournaments this year, but he has finished high at the other tournaments. He enters the day five strokes behind Furyk and he will look to make up ground quickly.


Steve Stricker

Also five shots behind Furyk, Steve Stricker will have a chance to catch the leader on Sunday.

Although some of the golfers in front of him have had some outstanding rounds in this tournament, Stricker has been the most consistent. In each of the first three rounds, he shot a two-under par.

Consistency is key in a tournament and he has been about as reliable as it gets. Meanwhile, Furyk has seen his scores go down each day. He shot a 63 on the first day and finished the third round at par, which was his worst round of the Bridgestone Invitational 2012.

One interesting trend also gives Stricker an edge over Furyk's other competitors. Since 1999, the winner of the tournament has been an American nine out of 13 times.

Furyk and Stricker are both Americans, so it will be interesting to see if either golfer can continue the trend. 



As well as Furyk played during the first two rounds, he is on the way down. Furyk has seen his score decrease by at least three strokes in each of the past two rounds, so he needs to make an adjustment if he wants to hold on to the lead.

His competitors will look to take advantage of his slump. McIlroy is always a threat to shoot a great round, and he is looking to get back on track. His skills give him the best chance to make a comeback.

On the other hand, Stricker's consistency has been the key. It should give him confidence not to change anything and continue to compete with the same steady play. In pressure situations, the most consistent golfers usually come out on top.