Jun 21st, 2015
US OPEN DAY 3 RECAP
A Day to remember
Words: Daniel Owen Photography: Getty Images
No fear of heights at the top of the leaderboard
(Leaderboard at bottom of page)
Jason Day, still suffering the effects of vertigo, shoots the round of the day at Chambers Bay, to take a share of the US Open lead. The Australian major specialist, had what they call in the trade great bounce-back-ability after coming back from his Friday afternoon vertigo induced collapse to shoot a two-under 68 and move to four under despite still feeling "groggy" during his third round.
Day shares the top spot with Jordan Spieth (71), Dustin Johnson (70), and South Africa's European Tour star Branden Grace (70).
On a day where the commentators were babbling on about USGA supremo Mike Davis losing the greens (Where did he hide them? – Ed), and where they seemed to ignore the huge plumes of smoke coming from a nearby Marina fire (Not – we are assured – an act of arsen by Woods & Fowler following their humilating missed cuts), no one could ignore Jason Day. In what could potentially be the best major win since Tiger won the US Open at Torrey Pines in 2008 with a broken leg, Day had an unbelievable back nine 31. At one point earlier in the round, he had trailed the leaders by seven shots.
"I felt pretty groggy on the front nine from all the drugs," said Day. "I flushed that out on the back nine. The vertigo came back on the 13th tee and I felt it come back again on the 16th tee. My goal was just to get through and see how it goes."
The Aussie, who has come second in this tournament twice before and is currently world number 10, rattled in five birdies on the back nine, including a birdie-birdie finish to set the clubhouse lead. Day's caddie Colin Swatton called his player's round a "superhuman effort" and the "greatest round of golf I've ever watched".
The Four Musketeers!
While Day got all the headlines, Grace, Johnson, and Spieth all held the lead on their own at some point in the round, and early doors it looked like Jordan Spieth was going to run away with it. He was three ahead after three holes, having moved to seven under. Four bogies in his next six holes brought him back to the pack.
"Four three-putts, two of them I could not do much about," said the 21-year-old Masters champion. "I just need to limit the mistakes on Sunday. I think as I sleep on it and wake up there will certainly be some nerves. It's not like I'm a veteran at this by any means."
Dustin Johnson was absolutely belting it off the tee, and hit 14 fairways from 14 in a spectacular display of driving. The TaylorMade player reached six under after nine but a double bogey on 13 stopped him in his tracks.
"I've been in this situation a few times so I know how to handle myself," said the 30-year-old,"I know what it takes to get it done."
Grace also got it to six under, birdieing the eighth, but dropped away with three bogeys in five holes before a two on the par-three 15th got him back to four under.
"I'm stoked. I can't wait," said the 27-year-old who has six wins on the European Tour. When he gets going, he can look unbeatable.
All three had birdie putts on the last that would have given them the solo lead. All three missed.
The only man making the course look really easy was Louis Oosthuizen. At one point – after two holes of his second round – he stood at nine over par and seemingly destined to miss the cut. But he gritted his teeth and refused to give in. The 2010 Open champion birdied his third hole then had four more and an eagle for a 66. Last night five birdies and a bogey matched Friday's score as he zoomed up the leaderboard.
His total of 132 shots for the middle two rounds is a US Open record.
What could have been...
Oh Rory! You were hitting it so good. You just couldn't get anything to drop. He insisted he could still win this year's title despite remaining four over par after a level-par 70. Wishful thinking we fear, but if he posts an early score in the final round who knows?
"If I can play as well, tee to green, again and have one of my best ever putting rounds I have a chance,” said Rory. "I turned a 65 into a 70. I need something spectacular on Sunday." He didn't think much of the greens either, referring to Henrik Stenson's Friday comments. "I don't think they're as green as broccoli. I think they're more like cauliflower."
But where Rory has struggled, we've been well impressed by Shane Lowry. The Irishman is looking the real deal, and at one under he's still in with a shout to be the first man to win a major with a beard since the Morris Dynasty!
Our homegrown players didn't do much last night. Ian Poulter had a good day shooting a one-under 69, and lies alongside Justin Rose (72), and Paul Casey (73), and Scotland's Marc Warren (72).
Colin Montgomerie shot a 72 to go to seven over, but then did double duty getting back into the Sky commentary box for the second half of the day. Luke Donald was also seven over while Lee Westwood hit a 77 to fall to nine over.
“Played great today. Shame about 18,” Westwood wrote on Twitter.
“I know I made triple but it’s a stupid par 4 and a great par 5.”
No vertigo involved in this collapse
A six-over 76 dropped halfway leader Patrick Reed to one over. Three doubles wrecked his card. There was definitely no shushing of the crowd this week. “It’s unacceptable the way I played,” Reed said. “It’s just ridiculous. To have a four-putt, I could have done that left-handed. So it was horrendous out there. And the golf course beat me.”