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US Open 2016 - Round 3 Reports - Scores

Shane Lowry leads after marathon day

Stalled by rain, the U.S. Open is almost back on schedule. And when another marathon day finally ended Saturday with Shane Lowry of Ireland atop the leaderboard at Oakmont, it was more chaotic than ever.

None of the six players who remained under par has ever won a major championship.

Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia, who between them have played in 142 majors without winning, were only three shots behind.

Andrew Landry, in his first U.S. Open, didn't look the least bit rattled and was two shots back.

And then there was Dustin Johnson, no stranger to suffering in the majors. He had the 36-hole lead, started the third round late Saturday afternoon by stuffing his approach to 5 feet for birdie, and then hit his next tee shot so far left that it went over a counter of lemonade glasses and into a concession stand, the ball settling next to a blue tub filled with bags of ice. He nearly made birdie. Bogeys followed and he also was three shots behind.

Jason Day worked himself back into the mix. Jordan Spieth did not.

Through it all, Lowry looked poised as ever. With a chance to give Irish golf its 10th major in 10 years, he ended the day at 5-under par through 14 holes when darkness suspended the final round. He was thrilled to stop and catch his breath. And he can't wait to get back out at 7 a.m. Sunday.

''We all know that this course can jump up and bite you in a split second,'' Lowry said. ''So yeah, I'm two ahead with 22 holes left. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. These are the best golfers in the world behind me. I have to go out there and do what I've been doing all week. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. This is exactly where you want to be. I've been beating myself up over the last six months trying to get in this position.

''I'm here now. I might as well enjoy it while I'm here.''

It wasn't so enjoyable earlier in the day when he was lining up a 30-foot birdie putt and nudged the ball with his putter. It moved ever so slightly, enough for Lowry to see, and he turned in disgust to call over an official, then held the putter behind his neck as if he wanted to snap it.

He took the one-shot penalty and then saved his mood with an 8-foot bogey putt.

''To hole that second putt was massive for me and massive for my whole day,'' Lowry said.

After two of the longest days brought on by three rain delays in the opening round, Sunday becomes a sprint.

Landry, the 28-year-old qualifier who has never been on a stage remotely this big, didn't flinch when he had the 18-hole lead or when he played alongside Johnson, who can intimidate with athleticism and power off the tee.

''No nerves, very comfortable,'' he said after finishing at 3 under through 13 holes.

The leader in the clubhouse when the day ended was Branden Grace, who last year at Chambers Bay was tied for the lead until he hit 3-wood onto the train track and out-of-bounds for a double bogey that cost him. Good news for the South African: A train can be heard from Oakmont, but not hit.

Grace pieced together a 66 to reach 1-under 209, four shots behind Lowry.

The most intriguing character is Johnson because of his long list of heartache in the majors, particularly last year at Chambers Bay in the U.S. Open when he was 12 feet away from winning and took three putts to finish one shot behind Spieth.

He had made only one bogey in 36 holes until it began to get away from him - a double bogey on No. 3 when a chip came back to his feet, a bogey from the bunker on the par-3 sixth, a sloppy bogey on the tough 10th hole with a wedge that came up woefully short.

Johnson remained optimistic as ever.

''I'm giving myself opportunities,'' he said. ''Feel like I'm hitting my putts on my line with the correct speed. So, I mean, at some point, they will start to go in. Hopefully, that's tomorrow. ... I've been in the position before. I know what to expect. I know how to handle it. So hopefully, the ball falls my way tomorrow.''

Day opened with four birdies in five holes and shot 66, leaving him six shots behind Lowry. Spieth also started strong with three quick birdies, only to get derailed with a double bogey. He had to settle for a 70 and was nine shots behind Lowry.

It's the first time since August 2014 that Spieth hasn't been on the leaderboard going into the final round.

''Come out tomorrow and try to pull a Johnny Miller,'' Spieth said.

Miller famously closed with a 63 at Oakmont to win the 1973 U.S. Open, which remains the greatest final round by a major champion. But the course was drenched that Sunday, and that won't be the case now.

Even though Oakmont absorbed nearly 3 inches of rain on the opening day and remain soft enough for shots to spin ever so slightly, it was clear the hot sun began to bake it out and it likely will be fierce as usual for the final round.

McIlroy, Mickelson & Fowler miss cut

Rory McIlroy spent the days before the U.S. Open searching for his game.

The world's third-ranked player didn't find it at Oakmont.

McIlroy missed the cut on Saturday after posting a two-round total of 8-over 148, two clear of the cut line at 6 over. The 2011 U.S. Open champion followed up a disastrous 7-over 77 in the gloom on Thursday and early Friday with a wildly uneven 1-over 71. Starting on the back nine, McIlroy birdied four of his first seven holes to get back to 3 over and send a jolt into the gallery that a hot streak not unlike the four rounds he put together at Congressional five years ago was in the making.

Only this time, it didn't happen.

Whatever momentum McIlroy generated disappeared on the par-4 fourth, when it took him four jabs of the putter to get in from 13 feet. He bogeyed the par-3 sixth but arrived on the tee box at the par-4 ninth right on the number. A leaky drive put him in a fairway sand trap. He had 158 yards to the flag when his approach shot hit the lip of the bunker and trickled back toward his feet. The ensuing double bogey insured McIlroy of an early exit at the Open for the first time since 2012.

McIlroy admitted after his shaky first round he'd been ''struggling with my swing a little bit'' since arriving in western Pennsylvania earlier this week even though he was coming off a solid stretch during the spring that included a victory back home at the Irish Open and a tie for fourth at The Memorial in his last start.

Yet he looked befuddled at times while making his way around Oakmont, occasionally glancing at his club as the ball went someplace other than where he intended. When his approach shot on the ninth smacked off the top of the bunker and headed back his way, he looked on in stunned disbelief and will have to wait until the British Open at Royal Troon next month for a chance to add to his four major titles.

McIlroy had plenty of company as more than half the 156-man field sprinted for the players' parking lot on Saturday while the 67 who earned the right for two more mentally and challenging tours of Oakmont prepared for a hastily arranged third round.

Fellow former U.S. Open champions Justin Rose and Ernie Els also bailed early. Rose was done in by a 40 on the back nine in the second round on his way to a total of 8 over. Els, who won the first of his three majors at Oakmont in 1994, posted consecutive 75s.

Phil Mickelson's quarter-century quest for his first U.S. Open title will carry on to Erin Hills in Wisconsin next June after he shot 74-73, missing out by a single shot. Mickelson promised to stick to his game plan of playing it smart rather than taking unnecessary risks, one he briefly abandoned on the short par-4 17th.

After saying there was ''zero chance'' he would try to drive the green on the 318-yard hole, he took aim and ended up in a greenside bunker. He couldn't get up and down for birdie and when he couldn't convert a birdie on the 18th he ended up missing out on the weekend at the one major he lacks for the first time since 2007, the last time the tournament visited Oakmont.

At least Mickelson was close. Fowler, still looking for his first major, was not.

Playing alongside McIlroy and reigning Masters champion Danny Willett, the popular and stylish 27-year-old finished at 11 over after finding just 14 of 28 fairways and 20 of 36 greens. Fowler's score would have been worse if not for a pair of birdies over the final five holes, though by then it was far too late as he failed to survive the cut at the U.S. Open for the second straight year.

''I felt like I drove it well in the practice rounds,'' Fowler said. ''Yeah, just struggled to kind of get the confidence built up and just go out there and trust it. So made some good swings today, though, some not so good.''

Not good enough to stick around.

Jason Day vaults up leaderboard with a 66

A hot start and a back-nine eagle pushed Jason Day 37 spots up the leaderboard and into contention in the third round at the U.S. Open on Saturday.

Almost as rewarding, he will be able to sleep in on Sunday while most of his rivals are up before dawn to finish the round.

Day posted 66 for a one-over 211 total, moving into a tie for eighth after he began the third round nine shots off the lead in a tie for 45th at Oakmont.

Day is six shots behind leader Shane Lowry of Ireland, who has four holes remaining in his third round after play was suspended due to darkness with 25 players yet to complete the round.

It is not lost on Day that six of the seven players in front of him on the leaderboard will not have the luxury of a leisurely Sunday morning.

"They're going to be waking up around 5:00 to play the rest of their holes," the world number one told reporters.

"It's going to be warm tomorrow and (to) then have to come back and play 18 holes in the afternoon, it may be physically and mentally a little bit tougher on those guys."

Day began his third round at the 10th hole and made four birdies in his first five holes.

Later, he fired a 260-yard six-iron approach shot to the back of the green at the par-five fourth and drained the eagle putt.

The reigning PGA Championship winner is well aware the seven players in front of him have not won a major.

"If they want to go out there and they think they're ready to win a major, then it's obviously going to be tougher because they're going to be focused and ready," Day said.

"It's good to have a major under my belt, but I'm just trying to win the tournament. That's all I want to do.

"I think I've given myself an opportunity getting there. We'll see how those guys go in the morning and hopefully, I'll be there."

Andrew Landry keeping cool

All it took was three holes for Andrew Landry to tumble down the leaderboard Saturday at the U.S. Open.

He didn't crack.

Landry closed with two birdies in his second round to stay right in the mix. Nearly five hours later, he was in the last group of the third round of his first U.S. Open, being announced alongside powerful Dustin Johnson.

He didn't get rattled.

The long shot of this U.S. Open is playing like that dream start might have a fairy tale ending.

Landry was at 3-under par, just two shots behind leader Shane Lowry, when darkness suspended the third round with five holes still to play. He was ready for some sleep, and he sounded ready for the biggest day of his golf life.

''Just go and hit a bunch of greens and maybe the putts go in, maybe they don't,'' he said. ''So we'll see.''

At No. 624 in the world ranking, Landry has never been on a stage like this.

As if the U.S. Open weren't enough pressure, he had plenty of time to think about his 66 in the opening round, the best start in 10 majors at Oakmont, breaking the mark held by Ben Hogan and Tom Watson.

He finished that off with one putt - a 10-foot birdie - Friday morning and had to wait until Saturday morning to start the second round.

For a brief moment, it looked like he would be an afterthought by the end of the week. Landry blasted out of a bunker on the par-3 sixth hole across to the fringe and made bogey. He dropped another shot on the seventh. And then he ran into big trouble on the par-3 eighth hole when he blasted out a bunker and over the green into deep rough. From there, he could only hack it out of the gnarly rough to some 30 feet from the pin, and he did well to two-putt four a double bogey.

Just like that, he was back to even par for the tournament. He lost the lead.

He just didn't lose his head.

''I made good swings. The only bad shot I hit was the bunker shot on 8 and I left myself in a bad situation,'' Landry said. ''I was trying to hack it out on the green and two-putt. That's what I did. I didn't really do anything that bad besides just not hitting fairways.''

Landry made birdie on the par-3 13th and then finished with a flourish. He drove into deep rough but in a manageable spot short of the par-4 17th, chipped to 20 feet and holed it for birdie. From the first cut of rough on the 18th, his approach came off the slope to 3 feet for another birdie to put him 3-under 137.

His name was high on the leaderboard. The only difference was the names around it.

That's why he's trying to avoid the distractions of a U.S. Open by keeping his mind off golf during his day off Friday.

''Just hanging out, keeping my mind off of it and eating and drinking waters - not cold beer,'' he said. ''Obviously, my name was mentioned quite a bit. It's definitely very pressured, especially when you have guys like Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia at the top of the leaderboard. So I just spent time with them, did a little laundry and slept.''

Majors are filled with stories of unheralded players who start fast and fade just as quickly. Landry didn't want to be one of those. Asked if he were comfortable seeing his name atop the leaderboard, he replied, ''Sure. Should be there. I hope it stays there for a long time.''

So far, it has.

US Open to return to Oakmont in 2025

The USGA didn't even wait for this U.S. Open to end before announcing Oakmont will get another one.

USGA president Diana Murphy announced during the telecast Saturday that the U.S. Open will return to Oakmont in 2025. It will be the 10th time Oakmont hosts the U.S. Open in a span of just under 100 years.

Murphy also says Shinnecock Hills on Long Island will host the 2026 U.S. Open.

Shinnecock Hills hosted the second U.S. Open in 1896, and then waited 90 years before getting another one. Shinnecock Hills already is scheduled to host the Open in 2018.

 

Scores

# Nat Selected Others Score Hole Today
1 IRL Shane Lowry -5 14 -3
2 USA Andrew Landry -3 13 -2
3 ENG Lee Westwood -2 15 -1
3 ESP Sergio Garcia -2 14 Par
3 USA Dustin Johnson -2 13 +2
6 RSA Branden Grace -1 18 -4
7 USA Scott Piercy Par 13 +2
8 USA Bryson DeChambeau +1 18 Par
8 AUS Jason Day +1 18 -4
8 USA Zach Johnson +1 17 +1
8 USA Daniel Summerhays +1 14 +2
12 KOR Sung-Hoon Kang +2 18 Par
12 USA Derek Fathauer +2 18 Par
12 USA Kevin Streelman +2 18 -1
12 USA Kevin Na +2 18 -1
12 USA Jason Dufner +2 18 -2
12 USA Daniel Berger +2 18 -1
12 USA Brendan Steele +2 18 Par
12 AUS Adam Scott +2 18 +2
12 FRA Gregory Bourdy +2 14 +4
21 RSA Charl Schwartzel +3 18 -1
30 USA Matt Kuchar +4 18 +1
30 USA Jordan Spieth +4 18 Par
41 USA Bubba Watson +7 18 +2
52 ENG Danny Willett +8 18 +3

 





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