Amid the surges of sudden contenders Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day, Chambers Bay also claimed a few victims during Saturday’s third round at the U.S. Open.
No golfer struggled more mightily than Ben Martin, who entered the day tied for fifth at 3 under. He fell out of contention after carding an ugly 16-over 86 to plummet into a tie for 73rd. It was the worst score of the day, and tied for the worst score of the tournament with Alex Kim, who shot 86 on Friday and missed the cut.
Big numbers doomed Martin. After beginning with a birdie on the first hole, Martin carded double bogeys on Nos. 2, 4 and 7 before slogging through a round-killing quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 8th hole, finishing the front nine with a 10-over 45.
It didn’t get any better; he ended the round with a bogey on 17 and a triple bogey on the par-5 18th.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News Tribune
Camilo Villegas also slid. He was among the group of 15 players who barely made the cut at plus-5 thanks to amateur Nick Hardy’s final-hole bogey to end the second round Friday, but Villegas didn’t make much of the opportunity.
The 33-year-old Colombian shot a 10-over 80, a round that featured seven bogeys, two double-bogeys and a lone birdie on the par-3 third hole.
Chris Kirk, a 30-year-old American, also shot 80 after entering the third round at 3 over. Brian Campbell, who entered Friday as the low amateur at 1 under, shot 5 over on the back nine and finished his third round with an 8-over 78.
On this day, misery had famous company. Phil Mickelson assured that he will leave University Place without completing the career grand slam as the popular left-hander shot 7-over 77 and fell to 10 over for the championship — tied for 66th place.
But he found a silver lining after bogeying nine holes and making two birdies, just two days after positioning himself well with a 1-under 69 in the first round. Mickelson shot 4-over 74 on Friday.
“As bad as my score was,” Mickelson said, “I hit a lot of good shots that ended up as bogeys. And through three rounds, I haven’t made a double.”
BELJAN’S BIG DAY
Six golfers carded rounds under par in the third round: Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen, Cameron Smith, Charl Schwartzel, Ian Poulter and Charlie Beljan.
Beljan, who is playing the weekend for the first time in three U.S. Open starts, shot 1-under-par 69.
A birdie and eagle offset two bogeys in the first five holes. Beljan is 3 over for the tournament but feeling good about his game.
“The way I’m hitting it right now, and if I found a little something on the putting green, (on) this course you can go out and shoot a 3 or 4 under,” said Beljan, a 30-year-old from Arizona.
“I hope the wind blows 25 this afternoon and I hope the greens get harder and faster and we’ll see what these guys do,” Baljan said.
PLAYOFF is possible
With a logjam at the top of the leaderboard after three rounds, a playoff is a distinct possibility.
The USGA resolves the ties for the championship with an 18-hole playoff.
The first 18-hole playoff in PGA history was in Fircrest, next door to University Place.
Five players tied for the lead of the Tacoma Open Invitational in 1948. After 18 holes at the Fircrest Golf Club, two men were still standing, Ed “Porky” Oliver and Cary Middlecoff.
Oliver eagled the 19th playoff hole for the win.
Staff writer Craig Hill contributed to this report.