In a day marked by great playing conditions and low scores, Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell were able to separate themselves from the rest of the pack somewhat as Tiger Woods began to fade away on Saturday.
Tiger Woods shot a third round score of five over 75, and is currently five shots out of the lead heading into the final round at the 2012 U.S. Open. He got off to a terrible start on the front nine with four bogeys and one birdie and just couldn't recover after that. Tiger was still driving the golf ball as well as he did the first two days, if not better, but both his approach shots and putts were off all day. He never really gave himself any easy chances to make birdie, and with the conditions the way that they were on Saturday he had to shoot even par or better to stay in the competition, but wasn't able to do so. That's not to say that there is absolutely no chance for him to get back in it, but I would say that they are very slim for Woods.
Jim Furyk got off to a slow start for his third round as well with two bogeys over the first five holes, but seemed to get comfortable after making birdie on the seventh hole and ended up shooting an even par 70 on the day. Furyk only hit 10 out of 18 greens on the day, but was very good with the short game and made putts when they mattered. The key for Furyk on Sunday if he wants to win is that he needs to continue hitting as many greens in regulation as possible, as he ranks second in the field in the category. He can't keep putting himself in the situations he was in on Saturday, especially if someone behind him catches fire and he needs to make a birdie to stay in it.
Similar to Furyk, McDowell drives the golf ball less than 280 yards on average off the tee but has excelled with the rest of his game to this point to tie for the lead. Graeme is third in the field in fairways hit at nearly 70% and ranks in the top 25 in greens in regulation hit as well; combine those two with 1.5 putts per green in regulation and one can see why he is leading the golf tournament. I like Graeme's chances to win on Sunday, as putting will be crucial and Graeme has been one of the best at it this week.
Ryan Kekoufski is a scratch golfer who has both played and watched the sport for well over a decade.
- Sports & Recreation
- Tiger Woods
- Jim Furyk
- Graeme McDowell