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Saturday, June 19, 2010

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Third-Round Running Updates

All Times PDT

8:27 p.m. - If Dustin Johnson can win the U.S. Open Sunday, he said it would be the best birthday present. His 26th birthday is Tuesday. He doesn't know why he plays so well at Pebble Beach - he's won the last two AT&T National Pro-ams here - but he's dialed in.

"This is what I live for, this is what I practice for - to win the U.S. Open," he said after his round.

8:13 p.m. - Dustin Johnson birdied the 18th hole, with a 4-footer, to drop to 6-under 207 for the championship. Graeme McDowell parred. Still, Johnson opened up a three-stroke lead heading into Sunday's fourth round. Ernie Els, who stands seven strokes behind, said it's going to be tough to catch Johnson.

"Dustin Johnson has won here in the past and you don't think he'll shoot a high score," he said.

8:08 p.m. - Phil Mickelson said things could have been worse. The positive he took from his round is that he escaped some of the trouble he felt he created for himself. He's confident that he's still within striking distance of the leaders. "If I can shoot something in the 60s [Sunday] you never know what can happen," he said.

8:03 p.m. - Ernie Els wrapped up another solid round, tapping out for par on the 18th hole, to finish 1-over 72. It left him even par for the championship. Els had 20 feet to the hole, but the ball stopped 2 feet short of the hole.

7:56 p.m. - Dustin Johnson sank an impressive 18-footer that broke 2 feet for a birdie on the 17th hole to record another birdie. Seconds later, Graeme McDowell could not convert a 6-footer and took bogey. Johnson opened up a two-stroke lead. Phil Mickelson's putt on 18 curled around the hole and ended his round 1-over 214.

7:49 p.m. - Mickelson took a drop before smashing the ball onto the green. The ball cleared a front bunker and kicked on, leaving about 15 feet and a chance for birdie. Graeme McDowell bogeyed the 16th hole to fall back into a tie with Dustin Johnson at four under par.

7:44 p.m. - On the 18th hole, Phil Mickelson grabbed driver and put his ball into rocks on the left. While that was happening, Ernie Els pulled a 10-foot putt and left a tap-in for bogey to fall to level par.

7:34 p.m. - Ernie Els sank a tough downhill putt from the front edge of the green on the 16th hole, which elicited a huge leg kick when the ball dropped in. Els dropped to one under, tied with Tiger Woods for third. Gregory Havret, who qualified to get into the Open, said he planned on playing in the Open just to see how he'd fare.

"The Open in America is someplace you want to play, you want to be there, you want to win," said Havret.

7:17 p.m. - While Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell stole the show Saturday, Gregory Havret notched a tough par save on the 18th hole to finish a quiet round of 2-under 69. It left him at even-par 213. Havret has made 13 starts on the PGA European Tour.

7:02 p.m. - Dustin Johnson couldn't knock in his 8-footer on 13 and fell one stroke behind Graeme McDowell. Gregory Havret kept pace with a par on the 17th hole, making a 4-footer that had about 10 inches of break. Havret stands at even par and five strokes behind McDowell.

6:41 p.m. - Graeme McDowell saved par from a precarious spot on No. 12. Just off the green, McDowell knocked in an 18-footer to remain at five under. Dustin Johnson followed suit by finishing off his up and down with a 6-foot make.

6:31 p.m. - Ernie Els dropped another stroke when he couldn't convert a 12-footer for par on the 12th hole. He dropped to one over.

6:29 p.m. - Dustin Johnson grabbed a share of the lead with a 6-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole. Johnson and Graeme McDowell are tied at five under.

6:14 p.m. - A relieved Tiger Woods addressed the media after turning in a magnificent 66 round.

"I kept telling myself to get to even par for the tournament and it happened to be one better," he said. "It's been awhile, it's been awhile. I haven't played good enough for anyone to cheer for me."

5:58 p.m. - Just as soon as McDowell caught Johnson, Johnson dropped out of the lead. He missed a 5-foot putt for par.

5:57 p.m. - With a chance to drop to two under for the championship, Tiger Woods left his eagle putt short on the 18th hole. He ended up two-putting for birdie and finished a fantastic round at 5-under 66. He's four shots off the lead that's held by Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell. That's because McDowell birdied the ninth hole with a 6-foot putt.

5:36 p.m. - Tiger Woods is on the move. He notched his seventh birdie of the round, converting a 15-foot right-to-left crawler that broke 6 inches right. He's even par for the championship. In the meantime, Ernie Els missed a 10-foot putt on the par-4 eighth but saved par. As it stands, Johnson leads at five under, followed by McDowell (-4), Els (-1) and four players were even.

5: 23 p.m. - Tiger Woods birdied the 16th hole for his sixth birdie. He's one over for the championship. He drained a crawling 10-footer, bringing a flurry of fist pumps.

5:19 p.m. - Graeme McDowell, playing in the same grouping as Dustin Johnson, rattled a 10-footer in on No. 7 to save par. He's one stroke behind Johnson.

5:16 p.m. - Dustin Johnson birdied the par-5 sixth hole to pull into a tie with Graeme McDowell at four under and is about to grab the outright lead after nearly aceing the par-3 seventh. His ball is within tap-in range.

5: 02 p.m. - Ernie Els, "The Big Easy," birdied the sixth hole with a 7-foot putt. He's moved within three strokes of leader Graeme McDowell.

5 p.m. - Davis Love III carded a 68 Saturday. He seemed happy.

"It wasn't my game plan to go birdie-birdie-eagle," said Love. "So, you just go out and play and try to birdie every hole and play the most aggressively you can. That's what I did all day today. It worked for 14 holes and four other ones I didn't play that great. I just have to do a little bit better job tomorrow. You've got to play for birdies because I'm not going to win shooting even par tomorrow, for sure."4:57 p.m. - Phil Mickelson missed a golden opportunity to shave a stroke off his score, but he instead pushed a 4-foot putt for birdie by the par-5 sixth hole. He made the comebacker for par.

4:43p.m. - Duston Johnson eagled the par-4 fourth hole, draining a 5-foot putt. He's one stroke behind leader Graeme McDowell, who was four under. Tiger Woods was lurking after birdieing the 13th hole with a 12-foot left-to-right putt.

4:12 p.m. - Tiger Woods notched another birdie with an 18-foot knee-bending putt on the par-4 11th. The putt broke right about 6 inches before falling in, bringing a fist pump.Woods is one under for the day and three over total. Graeme McDowell birdied his second hole to fall to five under. It stands like this: McDowell -5, Dustin Johnson -1, five players tied at level par.

3:59 p.m. - Phil Mickelson fell off the leaderboard with another bogey, this one coming on the second hole. Leader Graeme McDowell had a tap-in birdie on the first hole to quickly get to four under par.

3:51 p.m. - Ernie Els stood over a 25-foot uphill putt, but could only tap in for a par to remain at one under. Phil Mickelson bogeyed his first hole when he pushed a 6-foot par attempt wide.

3:29 p.m. - Martin Kaymer birdied two of his first four holes to drop to 1 over. On No. 4, he carded a par after getting on the green in two shots and leaving his 9-foot birdie attempt short.

3:10 p.m. - Tiger Woods narrowly mossed an 18-foot eagle putt on the sixth hole, settling for birdie. He was at three over.

2:46 p.m. - Justin Leonard moved up the leaderboard with two birdies, on his first two holes, to get to one over. Tiger Woods birdied the par-3 fifth to drop to 4 over. Amid windy conditions, he knocked in a 6-footer and tipped his cap to the gallery. Tom Watson finished his day with a 1-under 70. It wasn't easy.

"These greens are like putting over a herd of turtles," said Watson. Someone asked him if he drew on experience here. Watson said lots of it, but the biggest issue is that he sometimes mis-clubs himself. "The ego gets in the way," he added.

2:38 p.m. - Tiger Woods birdied the par-4 fourth hole with a short putt to get to five over. Davis Love III, currently tied for 27th, had the low round of the day with a 68.

2:20 p.m. - David Duval was four under par for his round when making the turn. At the moment, he jumped 35 spots to a T-13th. Brandt Snedeker was in the clubhouse with the low round of the day, with a 69. Tiger Woods just missed a 15-foot putt for par. He took bogey to fall to six over (after also bogeying No. 2).

1:55 p.m. - Tiger Woods started his thrird round with a par. He missed a mid-range putt and tapped in for par to remain at four over par.

1 p.m. - For Rules infractions, be sure to check out the Rules Corner. We have a Rules official blogging about various issues.

12:15 p.m. - Thongchai Jaidee made a hole-in-one in the third round at the 181-yard, par-3 fifth. It was the first hole-in-one of this championship and seventh hole-in-one in U.S. Opens held at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Jaidee's ace was the 41st-known hole-in-one in U.S. Open history and first in a U.S. Open since 2006, when Peter Hedblom made a hole-in-one in the third round at the 238-yard third at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. The ones that have happened before are listed below:

1972 - Jerry McGee, 180-yard fifth, third round

Bobby Mitchell, 180-yard fifth, fourth round

1982 - Bill Brodell, 180-yard fifth, second round
Johnny Miller, 205-yard 12th, second round
Tom Weiskopf, 120-yard seventh, fourth round

2000 - Todd Fischer, 106-yard seventh, second round

2010 - Thongchai Jaidee, 181-yard fifth, third round


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