With the leaders going off in a matter of minutes at the U.S. Open, here’s a look a five things you should keep an eye on during the third round.
Tiger’s third round is critical to Sunday success — Saturday is usually known as “moving day,” but for Tiger Woods, it could be his most important round of the week. As CBS Eye on Golf’s Shane Bacon pointed out, Woods has never shot higher than 71 in the third round of a major championship and gone on to win. He’s a front-runner at majors. If he falls off the pace and goes into the final round a shot or two off the lead, we’ll likely see someone else hoist the trophy on Sunday afternoon. Why? Because Woods has never come from behind in a major to win.
[Brian Murphy: Tiger Woods' calm, clinical dissection was a cool change]
Who’s going to make a move? — Following a 6-over 76 on Saturday, Joe Ogilvie sent out this tweet: “Someone will go low today, didn’t think it played that difficult, pins were gettable.” Ogilvie, who went off in the second pairing of the day, obviously played in different conditions than what players will face late in the day. But it brings up an interesting point: If there are low scores to be had, who’s going to make up ground on the field? Matt Kuchar (3-over), Steve Stricker (4-over) and Lee Westwood (5-over) are all lurking on the second page of the leader board — and all three of them have the game to make Ogilvie look like a genius.
Course conditions at Olympic Club — With temperatures expected to get close to 80 degrees today, there’s a good chance the USGA will have to water the greens during play to keep them from baking out. Olympic Club Super Pat Finlan confirmed that greens were watered last night to make the course conditions comprable to what players saw on Friday. However, the temperature increase could alter the situation and make things very interesting late in the day when the final groups are on the course.
The par-3 15th hole — Before the start of the week, the par 3 that seemed to be garnering the most attention was the 13th. With the shaved bank on the left side of the hole, some players were already saying it could be one of the toughest holes on the course. But the spotlight shifted on Saturday when the USGA decided to move the tees on the par-3 15th hole up, taking the hole from 154 yards to just 108 yards (it’s also playing four yards on and four yards from the edge). Mike Davis must have a sense of humor, because he has the shortest hole on the course coming just before the longest — the 670-yard 16th hole.
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Watch out for John Peterson — David Toms is the big name in the group, but don’t forget about John Peterson. The recent LSU grad was one of the most decorated amateur golfers before turning pro just last year when the USGA decided not to put him on the Walker Cup team. He’s second in the field this week in birdies (7), and ranks in the top-10 in fairways hit (T10) and birdies (T7). The favorable pairing with a former LSU Tiger could be a benefit. If you’re looking for a darkhorse within a couple shots of the lead, Peterson could be your guy.
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