Rain fails to slow Barnes charge
Ricky Barnes strengthened his claim to a US Open victory as the third round at rain-hit Bethpage Black finally resumed today .
Ricky Barnes strengthened his claim to a US Open victory as the third round finally resumed today with the major heading for a first Monday finish since 1983.
More heavy rain fell at Bethpage Black overnight, saturating an already drenched course which had flooded on many greens and fairways yesterday 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 with some players in the remaining 60-man field, including halfway leader Barnes, still not having started their third rounds.
The American, playing his first full year on the PGA Tour in his seventh year as a professional, was going the right way about emulating 2003 Open champion Ben Curtis in making his maiden professional victory at a major.
With the storms continuing through the night, and a further three-quarters of an inch of rain landing on the Black course at Bethpage State Park, officials decided to delay play until noon (5pm BST), pushing fourth-round play back into Monday for the first time in 26 years.
Barnes, starting the day at eight under with a one-shot lead over fellow American Lucas Glover, moved into a three-shot lead after six holes thanks to a birdie at the second and a 30-foot eagle putt at the fourth.
He had already seen his 132 from two rounds go into the record books as the lowest 36-hole score in US Open history, but the eagle got 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.
Barnes’ lead stretched to four shots when Glover slipped to seven under with a bogey at the sixth while Mike Weir of Canada remained third at six under having birdied the fifth and bogeyed the sixth.
And despite a bogey at the seventh, Barnes saw his lead stretched to five shots when Glover doubled the same hole with Weir slipping to four under after eight.
England’s Ross Fisher moved forward with a birdie at the par-five fourth, reaching the turn at three under in a tie for fourth with Americans Todd Hamilton and David Duval after 10 and nine holes respectively.
Lee Westwood had got to four under as he resumed play from the first green at two under, but four bogeys either side of a birdie at the eighth had the Englishman at one under after 11.
Sweden’s Peter Hanson was among those at one under with Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell producing a birdie at the sixth, his 15th, to get to level par for the week.
Oliver Wilson, who got to one under alongside Phil Mickelson with a birdie before last night’s suspension, bogeyed both the tricky 10th and 12th holes to slip to one over, as did Mickelson.
Sergio Garcia was back at two over while McDowell’s compatriot Rory McIlroy resumed at two over on the 15th hole having started at the 10th tee but immediately bogeyed the par four to fall to three over after 14 holes.
Defending champion Tiger Woods began his day 11 shots behind Barnes’ 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 was at three over after 10 holes
USGA officials were still confident of beginning the final round later today and of finally getting the tournament finished tomorrow, providing they avoided further stoppages.
“The forecast for the afternoon is relatively good,” Mike Davis, the USGA Senior Director of Rules and Competitions, said.
“We could see some light showers but they are not thinking thunderstorms or anything heavy.
“So if that’s the case, we will play as long as we can.
“We will resume round four at some time tomorrow morning, that is yet to be determined, and then if we have a play-off it would go sometime tomorrow afternoon.”
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