Justin Rose went 30 straight holes without making a birdie. He made up for it in a big way Saturday at the Bridgestone Invitational with a seven-under-par 63 that gave him a share of the lead with Jim Furyk going into the final round at Akron, Ohio.
The last bunch of birdies made for a quick change on the leaderboard. Rose was four shots behind with four holes to play when he made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 15th, hit wedge into three feet for birdie on the par-five 16th and closed out his best round ever at Firestone with a 40-foot birdie on the 18th.
Furyk finished with six pars, and he had to work for the last one. His tee shot landed in a sand-filled divot, and he punched it short of the green in the rough and then chipped long onto the fringe behind the flag. But he rolled in that 12-foot putt for par and a 69 to join Rose at nine-under 201.
They were two shots ahead of Shane Lowry, who had a 67. Steve Bowditch also had a 63 and was in a group four shots behind that included Ian Poulter (65), Henrik Stenson (68) and Bubba Watson (69). Watson had a chance to get closer to the lead until he missed a short birdie putt on the 16th and dropped a shot on the next hole.
Still, what Rose did Saturday was enough evidence for any number of players to have a chance.
That most likely does not include Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth, whose putting kept his 72 from being worse. Spieth finished with a double bogey to fall nine shots behind, all but assuring that Rory McIlroy will remain No. 1 going into the PGA Championship next week at Whistling Straits.
Rose had no such problems.
He made a pair of key par saves on the front nine that kept up the momentum from his birdie-birdie start, and he didn't come seriously close to a bogey the rest of the way.
"I guess that shows it just evens out, really, if you can stay the course and stay patient, kind of believe that you're going to get your run eventually," Rose said. "Yesterday, I actually played really well. … It just didn't happen yesterday. But came into today with a belief that I was still playing well."
He also decided he was showing Firestone too much respect with all the talk about firm conditions. Rose had been playing short of the flag and expected a bounce toward the hole. On Saturday, he decided to attack more often and was rewarded.
Now he's in position to capture his second World Golf Championship — Rose also won the WGC at Doral.
Miguel Angel Jimenez eagled the par-five 18th hole to match the course record of nine-under 61 and tie Colin Montgomerie for the second-round lead in the Shaw Charity Classic at Calgary, Canada.
Jimenez matched Fred Couples' course record set last year. The 51-year-old Spaniard made seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch in the middle of the round.
Montgomerie, the first-round leader after a 62, birdied the 18th for a 66 to join Jimenez at 12-under 128 at Canyon Meadows. The Scot had an eagle, five birdies and three bogeys.