Sunday, June 17

McDowell, Furyk Lead (Wide) Open Championship

By Brian Keogh

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

Jim Furyk (Allison)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Graeme McDowell produced a series of clutch par saves, then played his last nine holes in three under par to grab a share of the lead with Jim Furyk entering the final round of the US Open at The Olympic Club.

After getting up and down for pars at the fifth, sixth and eighth, he followed what he described as “a bit of a Tarzan five” at the par-four ninth—he was swinging from the trees—by playing the back nine in three under par for a 68 that left him tied at the top with 42-year old Furyk, the 2003 champion, on one-under par.

The pair, who played together for the first two rounds, are two shots clear of Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson (68) with England’s Lee Westwood (67), two time champion Ernie Els (68), Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts (71) and 36-year old American debutant Blake Adams (70) three shots behind in joint fourth on two over.

Tiger Woods slipped from a share of the lead to 14th, five shots off the pace, after a disappointing 75.

“I struggled on the greens today, quite a bit,” Woods said.

“They looked quick, but they putted slow. But they were firmer than they were yesterday. So it was a tough tough feel for me to adjust to and it was amazing how all day I kept getting a half club. Just one of those days where I was right in between clubs on about every single shot. Just never quite had the right number.”

With the top 17 players covered by just five shots, McDowell is taking nothing for granted as he bids for his second US Open title in three years, a third successive US Open win for Northern Ireland and an incredible fourth success for Irish golf from the last nine majors.

“Obviously delighted with my effort today,” said McDowell, who captured the title just 120 miles down the coast at Pebble Beach two years ago.

“Myself and Jim played together the first two rounds, so we’ll have the pleasure of one another’s company tomorrow. It’s wide open. I look at guys at two and three and four over par in this tournament, who I really think they have a realistic shot to win tomorrow.”

Like McDowell, Furyk knows that the tournament is still wide open but he was reluctant to pick a winning score.

“Graeme and I are tied for the lead, but there’s a bunch of people piled up and close to it,” he said. “Obviously I like being up front in the position I’m in.”

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

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