Golf: Ideal final Firestone pairing for ex-US Open champs Rose and Furyk

AKRON, Ohio (REUTERS) - Justin Rose and Jim Furyk will head into Sunday's final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational ideally placed, tied for the lead and happy to be paired together for the closing stretch at Firestone Country Club.

They enjoy one another's company and each has triumphed once on the PGA Tour this season, Englishman Rose clinching the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April and veteran American Furyk landing the RBC Heritage in a play-off one week earlier.

"I get on well with Jim," world No. 8 Rose told reporters after surging up the leader board with a flawless seven-under-par 63 in Saturday's third round.

"Always like to have a chat with him in the locker room and this and that.

"It would be a good pairing. He is very business-like out there on the golf course, and that suits me just fine. We're both players that just like to go about our business when we're out there."

Furyk, who will be seeking his 18th victory on the PGA Tour on Sunday after carding a one-under 69 in the third round, concurred.

"He's a very friendly guy," said the 45-year-old American, who has yet to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational where he has twice finished second.

"It will be a good pairing for both of us. We get along well.

"I obviously have a lot of respect for his game and the way he's played the last five years. There really aren't too many people in the world who have had a better record."

Both are former US Open champions, Furyk winning in 2003 and Rose in 2013.

Furyk had been four strokes clear heading into the third round at Firestone but was pleased with his ability to grind out a score on Saturday when things did not go especially well for him after the turn.

"On the back nine, I missed a bunch of fairways," he said after finishing level with the 35-year-old Rose at nine-under 201. "When I finally did hit one on 18, I was in a divot and an awful lie. Finally hit a fairway and still couldn't make a good swing at it."

Furyk's second shot at the par-four 18th ended up short of the green in the left rough from where he hit his third to 11 feet and did well to sink the putt.

"I really just kind of gutted it out," he said. "Kind of held myself in the golf tournament."