Barnes still top after third round
Ricky Barnes remained on track for a US Open victory as the 3rd round came to an end, but he could have been so much better off
Ricky Barnes took a one-shot lead into the final round of the US Open at Bethpage Black on Sunday, but things could have been so much better for the American
Barnes shot a 70 in the rain-delayed third round to stay at eight under par through 54 holes, one clear of compatriot Lucas Glover and five ahead of England’s Ross Fisher and American David Duval as the 60-man field prepared to make a quick turnaround and head back out to get the final round under way.
As the second major of the year headed for a first 72-hole Monday finish since 1983, Barnes had threatened to set more records after shooting the lowest 36-hole total in US Open history, 132, after a 65 yesterday.
The American, playing his first full year on the PGA Tour in his seventh year as a professional, held a six-shot lead at 10 under par at the turn and was going the right way about emulating 2003 Open champion Ben Curtis in making his maiden professional victory a major success.
A long-range eagle putt at the fourth hole had sent the 28-year-old to 11 under par, the first man to move into double digits at the US Open since Jim Furyk in the third round at Olympia Fields en route to his victory in 2003.
Bogeys at the seventh and then the long and difficult par-fours at 10 and 12 as Glover birdied the 10th and 11th saw Barnes’ lead slip to two shots at eight under.
Although he sank a 25-foot birdie putt at 17, he gave the shot back at the last, producing a great shot out of thick greenside rough only to miss from five feet.
Fisher finished strongly, the Englishman sinking a 10-foot birdie putt at 18 for a 69 to move to three under ahead of the final round, which will see him play with Duval, who also closed with a birdie for a 70 to join him in a tie for third.
“It’s still a new experience for me,” Fisher said. “It’s the US Open, it’s a major.
“So any time you can put yourself into contention and turn around and look at that leaderboard and see your name there, you’re doing something right.
“So fingers crossed, I can continue to do that for the rest of the evening and hopefully when we get back out there tomorrow and keep my name on that leaderboard, and who knows, try and climb up it a little bit higher.”
Canada’s Mike Weir fell back to two under with a 74, where he was met coming the other way by American duo Hunter Mahan, with a 68, and world number two Phil Mickelson, who delighted his big following of fans by sinking a 38-foot birdie putt at the 18th for a 69.
Two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen shot a second 68 in a row and Bubba Watson carded a 67 for both to get to one under, with Sweden’s Peter Hanson and Americans Sean O’Hair and Todd Hamilton.
One shot further back was Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, who returned to form after a second-round 72 with his second 69 of the week.
Defending champion Tiger Woods began his day 11 shots behind Barnes’s overnight lead and bogeyed the 14th, his fifth of the day, to fall 14 shots off the pace.
Woods made amends to the delight of his huge gallery when he chipped in from the rough at the par-three 17th, his eighth, and the world number one sent down back to back birdies at his 12th and 13th holes to reach one over.
Oliver Wilson shot a 71 to end the third round at one over for the tournament and Sergio Garcia of Spain went over par for the first time all week when he shot a 72, while Lee Westwood’s US Open dreams took a knock when the Bethpage Black course bit back at the Englishman.
Westwood had shot a second-round 66 to get to two under at the halfway stage and two more birdies in his third round had him at four under after four holes.
But five bogeys and a double bogey around a birdie at the eighth saw Westwood fall back to two over after a 74.
Rory McIlroy shot a two-over 72 to leave him at four over also and Ian Poulter had dropped a shot to five over after 15 holes.
More heavy rain had fallen at Bethpage Black overnight, saturating an already drenched course which had flooded on many greens and fairways on Saturday evening, bringing play to a premature end with the third round only just having got under way.
That led tournament officials from the United States Golf Association to suspend play for the day and with the storms continuing through the night, and a further three-quarters of an inch of rain landing on the Black course, officials decided to delay play until noon (5pm BST), pushing fourth-round play back into Monday for the first time in 26 years.
Having managed to get the final round started before nightfall, USGA officials were confident of finally getting the tournament finished on Monday, providing they avoided further stoppages.
ALL THE THIRD ROUND SCORES
(USA unless stated, par 70):
202 Ricky Barnes 67 65 70
203 Lucas Glover 69 64 70
207 Ross Fisher (Eng) 70 68 69, David Duval 67 70 70
208 Phil Mickelson 69 70 69, Hunter Mahan 72 68 68, Mike Weir (Can) 64 70 74
209 Sean O’Hair 69 69 71, Retief Goosen (Rsa) 73 68 68, Bubba Watson 72 70 67, Todd Hamilton 67 71 71
210 Peter Hanson (Swe) 66 71 73, Graeme McDowell (NIrl) 69 72 69, Stephen Ames (Can) 74 66 70
211 Steve Stricker 73 66 72, Tiger Woods 74 69 68, Oliver Wilson (Eng) 70 70 71, Soren Hansen (Den) 70 71 70, Ryan Moore 70 69 72
212 Michael Sim (Aus) 71 70 71, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 70 70 72, Stewart Cink 73 69 70, Johan Edfors (Swe) 70 74 68, Lee Westwood (Eng) 72 66 74
213 Anthony Kim 71 71 71, J.B. Holmes 73 67 73, Adam Scott (Aus) 69 71 73, Matt Bettencourt 75 67 71, Nick Taylor (Can) 73 65 75, John Mallinger 71 70 72, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 73 70 70
214 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 72 70 72, Azuma Yano (Jpn) 72 65 77, Camilo Villegas (Col) 71 71 72
215 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 71 70 74, Jim Furyk 72 69 74, Billy Mayfair 73 70 72, Gary Woodland 73 66 76, Drew Weaver 69 72 74, Thomas Levet (Fra) 72 72 71
216 Carl Pettersson (Swe) 75 68 73
217 Dustin Johnson 72 69 76, Vijay Singh (Fij) 72 72 73, Ian Poulter (Eng) 70 74 73, Kevin Sutherland 71 73 73, Ben Curtis 72 71 74, Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 73 67 77, Trevor Murphy 71 69 77
218 Kenny Perry 71 72 75, Kyle Stanley 70 74 74, Tom Lehman 71 73 74, Angel Cabrera (Arg) 74 69 75, Tim Clark (Rsa) 73 71 74, Andrew McLardy (Rsa) 71 72 75
219 K J Choi (Kor) 72 71 76, Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra) 73 71 75, Fred Funk 70 74 75
220 Andres Romero (Arg) 73 70 77, Rocco Mediate 68 73 79
223 Jeff Brehaut 70 72 81
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