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Early leaders going wrong way

Early leaders going wrong way

Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009 6:30 pm
By: By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — The U.S. Open trophy was on display this morning. It remained anyone’s guess who would hoist it at day’s end.
The leaders were going the wrong way.
On Championship Monday, this marathon U.S. Open was far from over.
Lucas Glover and Phil Mickelson (4-under for the event) shared the lead over a fast-fading Ricky Barnes at press time.
Glover dropped three shots on the front side and was 3 under for the day, while Barnes made four straight bogeys starting at No. 5 to continue a freefall that started Sunday afternoon. Neither leader had a final-round birdie before making the turn.
Barnes led by six shots at one point Sunday, 15 ahead of Tiger Woods.
It didn’t take long for a dramatic change at Bethpage Black.
And Woods made it interesting until missing a pair of makeable putts late and finishing at even-par.
He made birdies at Nos. 13 and 14, then hit his approach at 15 over the green.
Woods, the event’s defending champion, finished his play with a even score after a round of 1-under this morning.
Bethpage had its bite back this morning.
Birdies were rare. Wind was ripping in some areas. And mudballs — players’ biggest fear this rainy week — were increasingly common.
David Duval was in the middle of the fairway on the par-4 7th.
His second shot turned dead to the left, sailing 40 yards past the gallery line and nestling behind a tree — adding to a frustrating day for the former world’s No. 1, who started tied for third place and then made triple-bogey at the par-3 third hole.
It was the harbinger of what awaited at Bethpage today. Just about everyone was dropping shots.
Barnes threatened to make it a runaway on Sunday, getting to 11 under at one point.
But he made bogey on 10 of 20 holes in one stretch spanning the third and fourth rounds, the pressure of contending toward the end of a major perhaps getting to him.
Mickelson came into the final day determined to bring a fairy-tale finish to a U.S. Open career filled with great disappointment.
He has been the runner-up four times in the U.S. Open — three times in New York — and is desperate to bring a silver trophy of cheer home to his wife Amy, who is battling breast cancer and begins treatment July 1.
“I’m one good round away,” Mickelson said.
Mickelson will take time off after the U.S. Open to be with his wife.
Woods jumped 26 spots up the leaderboard in the third round, starting tied for 15th, and kept the climb going in the final round.
The world’s No. 1 made a putt in the dark for birdie at the 7th hole just as play was stopped Sunday night, hoping that would be the spark for a historic comeback.
Meanwhile, Barnes has only been within 10 shots of the lead after the third round of a PGA Tour event three times before in his career, and Glover has exactly one win on tour.
Glover proudly pointed out after 54 holes that he and Barnes were “playing better than everybody right now,” but was also quick to add that with the caliber of players lurking, someone was going to close the gap.
“There’s too many great players and the golf course is too good,” Glover said. “You know somebody is going to make a run.”
Thing was, Glover and Barnes were the ones on the move — backward.


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