Tiger Woods made birdie at the first hole,only to watch his day go racing downhill from there. By the time it was over,Woods skidded to seven bogeys and a 6-over-par 76 Saturday,tumbling down the leaderboard and matching his worst round as a pro at the U.S. Open. That left him 10 strokes behind third-round leader Phil Mickelson.
Despite leading the PGA Tour in putting in recent weeks,Woods needed 36 putts on the severely undulating greens. He blamed his inability to gauge the speed of those baffling putting surfaces for his three days of uneven play. Woods is tied for third in fairways hit and 22nd in reaching the greens in regulation. But hes averaged 32 putts per round,which left him tied for 53rd in the field of 73 players.
This U.S. Open marks exactly five years since Woods won his last major,at Torrey Pines,which he captured in a playoff against Rocco Mediate,despite hobbling around with ligament damage. His pursuit of Jack Nicklaus career record of 18 majors remains stalled at 14. Woods worst round ever at an Open was a 77 at Oakland Hills in 1996,when he was a 19-year-old amateur.
Amateur in top-10
Nineteen-year-old amateur Michael Kim looked at the scoreboard at Merions 15th green on Saturday and smiled at the sight of his name listed two strokes from the lead in the third round of the U.S. Open.
South Korea-born Kim,a University of California,Berkeley student and winner of the Jack Nicklaus award as top U.S. college golfer,said: I kept looking at the leaderboard,not because I wanted to know how I was doing in the tournament,but it was so cool to see my name next to those names like (Phil) Mickelson,(Luke) Donald,(Charl) Schwartzel. It was just an incredible feeling.
Kim birdied four of six holes from the 10th to be level par and within two strokes of the lead after 15 holes but finished by sandwiching a double-bogey with two bogeys to slip to 10th,five shots behind third-round leader Mickelson. Kim conceded that after gazing at the scoreboard,he could not help but fantasize about what it might be like to carry on and win the title.
I kind of went through that what if situation in my head, said Kim. What if I won or what if I did this. But it was cool,and I tried to snap back out of it,but I hit an awful tee shot on the next hole.