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US Open 2006
Winged Foot, 15-18 June 2006




US OPEN LEADERBOARD
Kenneth Ferrie
US unless stated
+2 Phil Mickelson, Kenneth Ferrie (Eng)
+3 Geoff Ogilvy (Aus)
+5 Ian Poulter (Eng), Vijay Singh (Fij), Steve Stricker, Colin Montgomerie (Sco)
+6 Mike Weir (Can), Padraig Harrington (Ire), Jim Furyk
+7 Trevor Immelman (SA), Luke Donald (Eng), Peter Hedblom (Swe), Bart Bryant, Arron Oberholser
Kenneth Ferrie and Phil Mickelson will play in the final group of the 106th US Open tied in the lead at two over, one clear of Geoff Ogilvy.

England's Ferrie had led his first ever US Open for most of his third round but bogeyed the last to join Mickelson.

The American had earlier stormed up the leaderboard with a superb inward nine.

Australia's Ogilvy carded a 73 and is two clear of Brits Ian Poulter and Colin Montgomerie, Fiji's Vijay Singh and American Steve Stricker.

The 36-year-old Mickelson was roared on every step of the way by the New York galleries and he did not disappoint - his one-under 69 matched Japan's Ryuji Imada for the round of the day.

After an erratic outward trip, the world number two, who is chasing his third straight major victory, came home with seven pars and two birdies to return to two over.

"I'm very excited to have fought back on the back nine and get back into contention and a tie for the lead. It should be fun on Sunday," said Mickelson.

The 27-year-old Ferrie, playing two groups behind his Sunday playing partner, had the chance to take a one-shot lead into the final round but saw a short par putt stay up at the 18th, an experience shared by a number of other Europeans.

I'm hitting it great and feel good and that's the main thing

Ian Poulter
"It's my first time in this situation so it's going to be a bit daunting but if I keep doing what I've been doing there's no reason why I can't go out there and compete," said Ferrie, who has only made one cut in his three previous majors.

Poulter, 30, saw his third-round charge come to a halt at the last as he twice watched shots roll back off the green. He would eventually double-bogey the hole for a 70 but is still right in contention at five over.

"If I evaluate the whole round I've played awesome," said Poulter.

"On the last I was a yard from perfection, I hit the shot I wanted and it was a yard short. I'm hitting it great and feel good and that's the main thing."

Poulter's compatriot and Ryder Cup team-mate Luke Donald also saw a great round slightly spoiled at the 18th.

The world number 11 bogeyed the hole to lose the chance of carding a second straight sub-par round. But his 70 confirmed his recovery from an opening 78 and leaves him just five off the lead.

One shot better than Donald is Padraig Harrington, another Ryder Cup stalwart, and he also came a cropper at 18. The Irishman suffered by far the most, though, as he carded a triple-bogey seven to fall from third to eighth.

To be five over after four was a disaster so to be five over at the finish was a hell of an effort

Colin Montgomerie
Alongside Harrington on six over are Canadian Mike Weir and American Jim Furyk, who won this event in 2003.

This pair along with Singh know how to win majors and cannot be discounted. But perhaps the story of the day was Montgomerie's remarkable round.

Playing alongside overnight leader Stricker, the 42-year-old Scot made the worst imaginable start when he bogeyed his first two holes and double-bogeyed his third.

By the time he had tapped in for another dropped shot at the 4th he was five over par and six shots behind his partner.

He got a shot back at the 5th only to hand it back at the 6th. After carding 17 of them on Friday, Montgomerie's first par on Saturday did not come until the 7th.

But he then composed himself, corrected the fault that was sending his drives left and started to play the tee-to-green golf for which he is renowned.

Phil Mickelson
Mickelson put together a storming back nine to delight the crowd
Montgomerie, perhaps the best player never to have won a major, covered the last 12 holes in level par and with the rest of the field coming back to him he is now only three behind Ferrie and Mickelson.

"To be five over after four was a disaster so to be five over at the finish was a hell of an effort," said Montgomerie.

The eight-time European number one has gone close to winning this event three times - he was third on his debut in 1992 and finished second to Ernie Els in 1994 and 1997 - a major title at his 58th attempt would be a fine achievement.

And with seven Europeans in the top 19 there is an excellent chance of the continent winning its first major since Paul Lawrie's win at Carnoustie in 1999.

At times during the third round the leaderboard resembled a European Tour event as the likes of Sweden's Peter Hedblom, Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell all enjoyed good runs.

Hedblom, in fact, aced the 3rd and then eagled the 5th to get within three of the lead before falling back to seven over.

"A lot of European players are up there and it's not going to be long before one of us manages to win," said Poulter.

But while the likes of Ogilvy, Singh and Stricker cannot be ignored, Mickelson will be a hot favourite to win his fourth major title.

Having shared the "best player never to have won a major" tag with Montgomerie for so long, a win for the Masters champion at Winged Foot would be his fourth victory in the last 10 majors and add to the growing rivalry between him and Tiger Woods.

SEE ALSO
US Open gossip
17 Jun 06 |  Golf


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