June 13, 2008

Saturday's Winners And Losers

Ron Sirak analyzes Saturday's golf and tells you who came out a winner and who came out a loser

WINNERS

Tiger Woods

File this one among the most remarkable six-hole stretches in the history of major-championship golf. Twice, Woods' surgically repaired left knee buckled, almost sending him to the ground. But all he did from No. 13 on was make two eagle putts--one from 66 feet and the other from 45 feet--and chip in out of the rough on one hop for birdie. The second eagle, on No. 18, closed out a 70 that gave him the lead at three under par going into Sunday's final round. And remember, Woods is 13 for 13 when he has at least a share of the lead going into the final round of a major.

Lee Westwood

He was for a time one of the Gold Dust Twins along with Darren Clarke. But that was more than a decade ago, and Westwood and Clarke have combined to win a total of zero major championships. That could change Sunday at Torrey Pines. A 70 on Saturday has Westwood one stroke behind Woods at two under par and in Sunday's final group of the U.S. Open--along with Woods.

Mike Weir

The 2003 Masters champion got back in the mix with a two-under-par 69 on a day when red numbers were rare. Weir, who started the day T-42, teed off three and a half hours before the leaders got in the clubhouse and finished at three-over 216, which was T-11 when play ended Saturday.

Sergio Garcia

The 28-year-old Spaniard, who has missed the cut in the last two U.S. Opens, got back in contention with a one-under 70 in the third round, playing the last 10 holes two under to finish 54 holes at 216, within six strokes of the lead as he searches for his first major championship.

LOSERS

Rocco Mediate

Seemingly in control at four under par for the tournament through 12 holes of the third round, Mediate went bogey, par, double bogey, bogey to stumble home at 72, although still very much in the mix, only two strokes behind Woods.

Phil Mickelson

This was Tin Cup without the water. The USGA had a sucker pin on the par-5 13th hole--five paces on and six paces from the right edge--and it had a customer in Mickelson. With a lob wedge in for his third shot, Lefty tried to play it too cute and spun the ball back off the green, a feat he accomplished two more times before managing to keep the ball on the green. From there he three-putted for a quadruple bogey 9 that effectively ended his chances of winning as he shot a 76 to fall to nine over par.

Stuart Appleby

The Aussie started the day with the lead at three under par, and he ended it eight strokes behind Woods after a 79. Appleby made seven bogeys, a double bogey and a lone birdie on the final hole. At least now he doesn't have to worry about playing with Woods on Sunday.

Davis Love III

What was looking like one of the great feel-good stories of the U.S. Open turned into a sob story Saturday when Love bogeyed four of the final six holes and shot a 76, falling to four over par, seven stroke behind the leader, after being two back going into round three.