US Open Day 3 Recap
Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements
ON DAYS such as this it is a privilege to follow this wonderful sport of ours and an honour to write about. When darkness stopped play towards the end of the third round of the US Open at Oakmont, Ireland's Shane Lowry found himself leading the way after a day he will remember for the rest of his life.
He began the round two under par for the championship and when he holed out at the 14th, which was his final hole of the day, he had progressed to five under, two ahead of Andrew Landry and three in front of Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson. Branden Grace is one under, and has the advantage of having posted a stunning 66 so he gets to have a lie in while the rest must return to finish off their rounds before tackling the final round - by that time, the greens will be running at 15 on the stimpmeter and the pins will be in horrible posiitons.
But this was a day that had everything. While Rory McIlroy was checking out of his Pennsylvania accommodation after missing the cut, the other two members of the so-called Big Three were finally making their presence felt in a tournament that had largely been staged without them making any notable contributions during the opening two rounds.
Johnson began the third round leading the field on four under. He quickly moved to five under before a double-bogey that would test his mettle and prove whether or not he really has recovered from the mental scars caused by so many major failures. And seconds after his disaster, which involved a wayward drive and a chip that ran back to his feet, Lee Westwood was joining him as joint leader by holing his approach to the sixth hole for an eagle two - his second of the tournament.
With attention focused elsewhere, Day and Spieth started their rounds at the 10th and quickly showed why they were both so fancied coming into the week. Day barely made the cut, but he played his front nine holes in 31 shots, taking him back to one over par, four behind the leaders. And Spieth was only a shot further back after covering the same nine holes in 33.
Day came back in 35 for a magnificent round of 66. He is one over par and is still very much in this tournament. Spieth needed 37 shots to cover his second nine and at four over par the defending champion is too far behind.
They say that majors don't really get going until the back nine on Sunday, but roars were being heard all over Oakmont as the world's best golfers did their best to prove that this wasn't the ferocious test we had been told it was. It was a fabulous day's golf, and the best is still to come.
Before the winning putt is holed we will see highs and lows, joy and misery. And we have the fascinating prospect of watching three of the sport's nearly men, Johnson, Garcia and Westwood, trying to finally land that elusive major. Or could Lowry become the second European to win a major this season? And then there is Landry, an unheralded player with a solitary victory on the Web.com Tour to his credit - he couldn't, could he?
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