Late stumble brings eight into running

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - "Post a good score and I have a chance."

Billy Andrade flat-out said it. Ernie Els hinted at it. Mike Weir, Tim Clark, Briny Baird and Alex Cejka are thinking it.

Even Tiger Woods alluded to it, invoking the holy grail of "posting a good score" - Johnny Miller's 63 in the final round that won him the 1973 U.S. Open. And he's 13 shots back.

In the final round of a major, especially one on a golf course as volatile as Lou Piniella, everybody in contention has a number in mind that they think will win the PGA Championship on Sunday at Oak Hill.

Thanks to Shaun Micheel's three straight bogeys to end the third round, at least eight players -- and maybe 11 -- are doing the math in anticipation of Sunday's final round.

"Obviously, bogeying the last three holes, I knew that wasn't good," said Micheel, who's tied with Chad Campbell at 4-under 206. "I think that brought a lot more people into the mix."

Indeed. At 7-under, which he was through 15 holes Saturday, Micheel had eliminated all but two or three players from realistic contention.

Now, eight players -- including two with major titles on their resumes -- are within five shots of the lead. Three more, including 1998 PGA champ Vijay Singh, are six back.

The biggest final-day comeback in PGA Championship history is seven shots.

"I'm in position now," said Baird, who shot 67 early in the day and ended up tied for fifth with Baird, Cejka, Els and Andrade at 1-over.

The PGA leaderboard is a mishmash of reputations through 54 holes. Campbell, Micheel, Clark and Cejka have never won a PGA Tour event. Andrade has won four, but none since 2000 and he has been playing as poorly this year as he ever has.

Weir won this year's Masters; Els has a pair of U.S. Opens and the 2002 British Open.

But a championship pedigree isn't all it's cracked up to be -- especially this week. Since 1988, 12 of the 15 PGA champions made the tournament their first major -- highlighted by John Daly's run from ninth alternate to the title in 1991 and Rich Beem's remarkable emergence a year ago (when he won despite having Tiger Woods breathing down his neck).

"The guy that plays the best is going to win," Andrade said. "It doesn't matter if he has experience or not."

But it doesn't hurt. Micheel admitted that he "didn't feel well all morning" on Saturday and that the wait for his 3:05 p.m. ET tee time was interminable.

"I felt sick this morning," Micheel said. "I couldn't eat before I teed off. Teeing off at 3:05, I sat around and I didn't have much to do. I wish I felt a little bit more at ease."

"There's a lot that goes into tonight when they are sleeping and trying to get ready," Weir said. "It's a long day until you tee off at 3 o'clock tomorrow. It's a long wait."

Campbell is trying to play down the expectations.

"Obviously, being in the last group of this tournament is a little bit different than any other tournament, but I think I'm going to try to approach it the same way and go out there and just keep playing the way I've been playing," Campbell said.

Regardless, it's better to lead than chase. Only once in the last 10 years has the winner of the PGA trailed by more than three shots entering Sunday (Steve Elkington came from six back to win in 1995 at Riviera).

"I suspect I'm going to have to get out there and catch them," Weir said. "I don't think they are going to back up too much."

"You can't control what other people are doing, so you might as well not even think about it," Campbell said.

But think he will. It's human nature. Is 66 enough? 67? 70?

Nobody has won the PGA shooting over par in the final round since 1982 at Southern Hills. Beem shot 68 last year, outlasting Woods, who shot 67.

"It's all about putting yourself in a position to win a golf tournament, and then seeing if either a break goes your way or you just play phenomenal golf on your last five or six holes," Baird said. "It can happen either way."

One of eight players will see how it happens on Sunday.

David Kraft is a senior editor at ESPN.com. He can be reached at david.s.kraft@espn3.com