Graeme McDowell is poised to celebrate Father’s Day with a second U.S. Open success in three years.
McDowell and fellow former U.S. Open champion, Jim Furyk head into the final round the only players under par in the season’s second Major.
‘G Mac’ posted a third round 68 and with Furyk carding a level par 70 for both players to be at one under par.
But while McDowell heads to a hopeful second U.S. Open success there is as many as four European Tour members within three strokes of the Northern Irishman.
Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson posted a 68 to be in third place at one over par.
Then there is four players at two over par including World No. 3 Lee Westwood, who holed a curling 40-foot birdie at the last for a 67 and the best score of the day. Also at two over par is former double U.S. Open winner, Ernie Els (68), American Blake Adams (70) and Belgium’s big-hitting Nicolas Colsaerts (71).
And suggestions and hype Tiger Woods was back to his best were easily dispelled on day three with the 14-time Major winner still no closer to adding to that total in posting a third day 75 to be trailing well back at five over par.
Included in Woods’ round was two bogeys within his opening three holes and then another two bogeys over his closing three holes.
McDowell is also out to keep the U.S. Open trophy in Northern Ireland for a third year in successon and he kept that goal in sight with eight opening pars before a ninth hole bogey but then ending with birdies at the 10th, 13th and a four foot gem at the last.
“The ninth was a wake-up call and I realised my swing was getting quick and snatchy,” said McDowell.
“Then the save on the 12th was huge. I thought I was in the bushes over the green, but making four spurred me on.
“I am firing pretty much on all cylinders.The key is not looking at leaderboards. It’s not just me and Jim – there are a lot of guys who can win.
“I look at the leaderboard now, and I see Tiger’s name, but I see other great names there as well, such as Lee Westwood and David Toms – guys who know how to get the job done. It’s fairly crowded, but I think four over is about as far back as you can look.
“I think someone will go and shoot 69 or 70 tomorrow and get the job done. I think level has a great shot, I really do.
“Last night I was thinking three or four over par had a shot, but the golf course was more playable today and the scoring was quite good. Now I’m thinking, would I take level par and sit in the clubhouse tomorrow? Maybe I would, but we’ll go and give it a go and see what tomorrow brings.”
Colsaerts started the week with a double bogey and the 29 year old then found himself four over after three holes.
However, he recovered for a 72, and a 69 that has put the Belgium into serious contention of a first Major.
“I feel I played unbelievably well the first 12, 14 holes,” he said.
“The plan was obviously to start well, and I gave myself a few very good birdie chances. I wasn’t quite efficient enough on the greens – if I could have putted a little better, maybe I would have probably been easily under par.
“But hopefully I can have a better day on the greens tomorrow.”