Hughes reached the 589-yard 13th in two and snaked in a putt similar to the one Tiger Woods made in the third round of the 2008 U.S. Open. The 30-year-old Canadian got up and down from the greenside bunker on No. 18 to close out he second straight under-par round.
Henley reached 6 under when he holed out for birdie on the par-3 11th, but had a bogey on the par-4 15th when he couldn’t get up and down from a bunker.
Russell Henley is holding up under the pressure of leading the U.S. Open.
He was the overnight co-leader with Richard Bland and has reached 6 under at brutal Torrey Pines to lead Mackenzie Hughes by two.
Henley opened with a birdie on the first hole and holed out a bunker shot for another on the 218-yard 11th after a bogey on No. 10.
Bland has backed up with three bogeys and no birdies through his first 12 holes. Matthew Wolff is even through 13 holes to remain 4 under.
Rory McIlroy overcame a drive into a canyon to keep himself in contention at the U.S. Open.
McIlroy saved bogey after hitting into the canyon left of the par-4 15th hole and closed with a two-putt birdie to shoot 4-under 67 in the third round at Torrey Pines. He moved to 3 under, three behind leader Russell Henley, who is still on the course.
McIlroy had a string of three birdies in four holes to open the back nine and made a 4-foot bogey putt after hitting his third shot short of No. 15. The 2011 U.S. Open champion hit his second shot on the par-5 18th to the back of the green and cozied up a 63-foot putt close for an easy birdie.
Whatever thoughts Phil Mickelson had of finally winning a U.S. Open will have to wait until next year. The 51-year-old PGA champion had a rough time at Torrey Pines.
Mickelson was wild off the tee early and it cost him. And then he struggled on the greens, particularly a four-putt double bogey on the 17th hole. It added to a 40 on the back nine for a 76, and Mickelson was toward the bottom of the leaderboard.
Lefty’s assessment: “I just completely lost it out there.”
The good news? As PGA champion, he gets four more cracks at the only major keeping him from the career Grand Slam.
Rory McIlroy is working his way into contention at the U.S. Open.
Starting the third round at Torrey Pines six shots out of the lead, McIlroy has birdied three of four holes to start the back nine and was three shots behind. That included a fairway metal that hit the pin on the par-5 13th and ricocheted to the back of the green. He two-putted from there.
Russell Henley has put his nose in front with a pair of birdies offset by one bogey. Richard Bland fell two behind with his first birdie, while Matthew Wolff and Louis Oosthuizen also were two shots behind on the front nine.
Jason Gore played in the U.S. Open for the first time in 11 years.
His score didn’t count.
Gore is most famous for playing in the final group at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2005 and shooting 84. He now works for the USGA in player relations. Gore played as a non-competing marker Saturday with Akshay Bhatia, who otherwise would have played the third round by himself.
Bhatia had to birdie the 18th hole Friday night to make the cut at 4-over 146. He shot 73 on Saturday, assured of not finishing last through 54 holes.
If Gore plays again in the final round, it will be with someone else. In his last official U.S. Open appearance, Gore tied for 47th at Pebble Beach in 2010.
Paul Casey is taking a big step toward nailing down a spot in the Olympics.
Casey is No. 19 in the world, a fraction ahead of fellow Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick. Casey made it back to even par for the U.S. Open with a 31 on the front nine at Torrey Pines. Fitzpatrick was 4 over through his first five holes and seven shots behind Casey.
Countries get two players for the Olympics next month, with a maximum of four if they are among the top 15 in the world. This is the final week before the 60-man field is set.
The leading British player is Tyrrell Hatton, who has not indicated if he plans to go to Tokyo.
Jordan Spieth is playing alongside Casey. He also had four birdies on the front nine, along with a bogey on No. 4 when he missed the fairway. Spieth was 1 over for the tournament.
It could be an indication of decent scoring opportunities for the rest of the field. Casey and Spieth will be done with the third round about 90 minutes before the final group even tees off.
Saturday is moving day at the U.S. Open, and this one could be fascinating.
The co-leaders are 48-year-old Richard Bland and Russell Henley at 5-under par. Bland is playing his fourth major, one each in the last four decades. Henley has played 26 majors without registering a top 10.
Behind them is a long list of star power and experience. Twenty players are separated by five shots, and six of them are major champions. That includes Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau. They have won three of the last four U.S. Opens.
Rory McIlroy is six shots behind and believes he’s very much in the mix. Phil Mickelson is another shot back and feels the same way.
In early play, Jordan Spieth has had two birdie putts inside 6 feet to start his third round and made one of them.
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