By petedirenzo
Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sports Illustrated's Farrell Evans live-blogged the third round on Saturday. Golf Magazine's Alan Bastable will start Sunday's live blog at 4:45 p.m. Eastern. 8:00 p.m. Tomorrow is going to be great. I hope everybody has their favorite shows taped because Tiger is going to dominate prime time. It could be one for the ages, as Jim Nantz might put it. Dustin is definitely in the catbird seat with a three-shot lead and a five-shot lead over El Tigre. He doesn't have to hit driver tomorrow on a single hole and he's won on this golf course twice. How can you bet against a guy who wears a PEACE PATCH? With that said, I'm checking out for the night. So long. 7:58 p.m. Dustin just took the lead with a birdie at 17th with a beautiful winding putt that died in the hole. It was a two-shot swing as Graeme bogeyed to fall to 3 under par. 7:53 p.m. The 18th at Pebble is a great hole. Phil takes an unplayable out of the rocks and hits his third on the green where he still has a chance to make a birdie. Tomorrow an eagle could get a player into a playoff or possibly when the tournament. 7:46 p.m. You heard it first here. On Sunday night the tournament is going to come down to 17 and 18. The 17th is the hole that can cost you the tournament. It has beaten the field to death all week. 7:42 p.m. Graeme McDowell dropped to 4 under par after a bogey at the 16 and is back in a tie with Dustin Johnson.

7:38 p.m. Phil's short game is keeping him in the tournament. He had a nice save from the grandstands at the tough 17th.   7:33 p.m. Els has been quietly staying in place. Now he's 1 under for the tournament after a sliding birdie at the 16th. Damn. This is really getting exciting. 7:31 p.m.  If Els can hang on at 16 and 17 and get to 1under on the easy 18th hole, he would get into the second to last group with Tiger. That would take us back to 2000 and 2001 when Els held down second place at four straight majors.  7:27 p.m.  Johnny Miller is having a nostalgic moment about the days when the rough around the greens at Opens was a lot thicker. It seems to me that with the technology that we have today, the setups would have gotten harder not easier.  It's not length the players fear, it's water and rough and fast undulatiing greens. 7:20 p.m.  This could be the first time that Tiger wins a major starting the final round not in the lead.  All the complaining that he's done this week about the greens, he's right there, proving that if you continue to make good putts eventually some are going to fall.  7:16 p.m.  Ernie Els has moved back to even par after a birdie at the 15th. We can't forget about him. He's been here before. 7:10 p.m.  The par 5 14th is a good hole. It's a 3-shotter with a bunker guarding the front of the green. Both Graeme and Dustin had about 120 into the green and couldn't get it close. 7:03 p.m. To reader David A. Robertson: Many of us have been pretty hard on Tiger, but I don't think anyone doubted his ability to still win tournaments. I know I didn't. 7:00 p.m. McDowell has the outright lead again after Dustin makes a bogey at the 13th. The Irishman looks unflappable. He's making all the nerve-bending shots around the green. 6:56 p.m. Phil is hanging in there. He had a great sand save at 14 to stay at 2 over for the tournament. 6:50 p.m. To reader M C: In an odd way Dustin and Graeme will feel less pressure tomorrow than Tiger or Phil, who have the pressure on them to win every time they tee it up. 6:47 p.m. One thing you can say about Dustin Johnson, he's not afraid to hit driver. On 13 where he could have hit 3-wood 280-yards he went with his driver and pulled it left of the junk. That tells me he's playing to shoot a low score and not simply to try to hold his position with safe play. 6:44 p.m.  Flatliner. That's what Dustin Johnson's caddie has called his player's temperament. I think by Sunday night the mental anguish from four days of Open pressure migh wear on that good spirit. 6:40 p.m.   I don't think  it matters where the leaders finish today. Tiger can make up any shot difference with a great front nine on Sunday. It looks like Graeme and Dustin may play again tomorrow. Gregory Havret from France is likely to play with Woods tomorrow in the second group. 6:32 p.m.  Dustin Johnson has regained a share of the lead after a birdie at the 11th. He and Graeme have been very solid. They haven't had to make any bombs or spectacular shots. They are making it look effortless and that's saying a lot when they know that Phil and Tiger are on the leader board. 6:29 p.m.  To reader Terence Pratt: It's not looking good for Phil and Tiger on Sunday, unless Phil can find something soon. 6:25 p.m.  NBC has kinda lost momentum with its coverage of the leaders after Tiger posted. It seems like Miller and crew can't wait for this day to end so we can get to tomorrow and Tiger's march to the sea. 6:20 p.m. If Phil can pull it together over the next hour he and Tiger could play together tomorrow. That would be a dream twosome for primetime TV and the game of golf. 6:16 p.m. Wow! Johnny Miller just said that Yonex spent a million dollars to develop Ishikawa's driver. That's more than the entire  R & D budget of most golf club manufacturers. 6:12 p.m. Dustin Johnson can overpower this golf course. At the 10th he had a little wedge (139 yards) into the green.  6:06 p.m. Tiger is chatting with Jimmy Roberts. He's still "plodding along,"  looking toward tomorrow. I think he has a lot left in the tank, but it's been awhile since his nerves have had to deal with this kind of pressure.  6:02 p.m. Graeme McDowell has retaken the lead at 5 under after he birdies the 9th and Dustin makes a bogey.  6:00 p.m. Tiger posts a 1 under with a third round 66 with a 30 on the back nine. He played himself back into the championship. The eagle putt was bouncing off the blade.  5:55 p.m. Tiger hits a cut three-wood from behind a tree in the 18th fairway to 20 feet for eagle. Awesome stuff! Or as my friend J.T. says a knockdown-slice three-wood. 5:52 p.m. The other deceptive thing about watching golf on TV is that you can't truly see how uneven the lies are in the fairways. On almost every hole players at Pebble are playing from very subtle sidehill, uphill and downhill lies. 5:48 p.m. Phil double bogeyed the 9th to go to plus two for the tournament.  Tiger could get it to red numbers and into the final group on Sunday with a 1 under or 2 under post. He's on the 18th tee. Look out! 5:39 p.m. The roars are back. Tiger just made his 7th birdie of the day to get to even par for the tournament and five shots off the lead. 5:37 p.m. Phil had 229 out of a fairway bunker sitting near the lip and he makes the 20-handicapper play, hitting the lip area instead of hitting something with some loft to get a decent play for a third to save par.  5:33 p.m. We just learned that Ishikawa travels with an entourage of 12 people. That's bigger than Tiger's by a half-dozen at least. 5:25 p.m. Tiger gets a birdie at the 16th to get to 1 over for the championship. He's gaining momentum.  5:20 p.m. Dustin gets it to 5 under and takes the outright lead. How long will he keep the lead? 5:18 p.m. To put Dustin's beautiful shot into the 7th hole into some context: no one all day has been able to get it within 10-feet of that pin. It's been impossible to stop it. Most guys have been finishing on the back of that green. 5:15 p.m. Dustin Johnson joins McDowell in the lead at 4 under with a birdie on the par 6th without hitting a wood on a par 5. And follows that with a near hole-in-one on the tiny 7th.  5:13 p.m. Johnny Miller loves assessing Tiger's behavior. "I love that he's acknowledging the gallery," says Miller. "A lot of times he's off into his own little world." Note to Johnny: This is not a  wednesday pro-am. He's trying to win the U.S. Open. 5:11 p.m.  Phil is at the start of the Cliffs of Doom at the 8th hole. That stretch of 8-10 is one of the most beautiful trio of holes in golf. The 100-foot drop off the cliff is scary if you're playing with a banana ball. 5:09 p.m.  The target at the 99-yard 7th hole is impossible.  5:08 p.m. Tiger is such a drama queen. He dropped his club in disgust on the 15th tee after he thought he had hooked his shot into the bunker. The ball ended up in the fairway. 5;06 p.m.  After seeing Dustin hit an iron off the par 6th, I can appreciate why the USGA is making courses longer. You should have to hit a driver off a par 5. But this is Pebble Beach.  5:00 p.m. TV flattens hills on golf courses  so it's hard to appreciate the uphill on the 6th hole. It's a beautiful par 5 that if you hit a perfect second shot you've got an eagle chance. But it's daunting standing there with the cliffs in your face. 4:57 p.m.  Johnny Miller commented that the greens were protecting Pebble Beach. That's pretty dead on. Otherwise there is no reason why someone couldn't shoot 10 under. 4:50 p.m. This is turning out to be a really good championship. There is some star appeal with Phil, Ernie and Tiger but Dustin Johnson represents the future of the tour. It's a nice multi-generational mix. It's hard to call it at this point, obviously, but Dustin Johnson looks to have his game in the most command of the leaders. 4:45 p.m. Tiger birdies to get to Plus two for the tournament and Dustin Johnson makes an eagle to get to within 1 of the lead. 4:42 p.m. I never thought that I would hear Tiger quote Hal Sutton's "Be the right club." He sounds a little desperate to get something going. He's got a good birdie look at the 13th.  4:40 p.m. This is unfair. Dustin Johnson just drove the green with an iron on the short par 4 fourth hole. He has a six-footer for eagle.  4:37 p.m.  Phil got back to even par after a birdie at the fifth. He looks a little off, but he could just be feeling his way through the first few holes. He knows that no one is going to run away with the tournament on saturday afternoon. 4:32 p.m. Tiger is eight shots off the lead after 12 holes in his third round. At the rate he's going the field has to come back to him for him to have a realistic chance, even though there aren't a lot of players in between him and the leader, McDowell, who just fell back to four under. 4:29 p.m. lshikawa hit a cut driver onto the green at the fourth hole: really sporty shot. If he had hit a draw driver the ball would have flown the green. He's a little shotmaker. 4:25 p.m. Dustin and McDowell could not have more different swings. Dustin is long and fluid in a homemade sort of way, while McDowell is on the Jim Thorpe side of shortness.  On the third hole (371 yards) Dustin went for it with the driver and McDowell hit a little blocked fairway metal into the right bunker.  4:20 p.m. McDowell birdied the second hole to go to 5 under: four shots clear of second place. 4:18 p.m. Tiger got it back to 3 over for the tournament with a birdie at the 11th hole. It looks like it could be a roller coaster  round for him. 4:15 p.m.  Unlike at most PGA Tour events, approaches into greens will take a lot of big hops on landing on these hard greens. It's made distance control a nightmare all week for these players. Dustin Johnson just hit a shot that if it were in February would be 10-feet from the hole.  4:12 p.m.  Phil almost did the same thing as Tiger did on the third hole—nearly flying the green with his 60-yard approach. Johnny Miller just gave a plug to Callaway's wedges. 4:08 p.m.  McDowell has a very fast and short swing.  He and Dustin Johnson both just hit great drives on the second. 4:03 p.m.  McDowell gets it to 4 under. That's an early three-shot lead with Phil going backwards to Plus 1. 4:00 p.m. Thank God that players are starting to hit driver at the second. Ernie just busted his drive about 310 on the hole. Three-irons off the tee to a 502-yard hole? That's crazy. 3:58 p.m. McDowell just hit his approach to the first hole to chip in range. Meanwhile, Phil is headed toward another bogey at the second hole. 3:55 p.m.  Phil flew the green with his approach on the second hole. He's misclubbed on two straight holes. He's thinking too much, maybe about the wind.  With his ball striking and penetrating ball flight he should just hit his number. 3:52 p.m.  Dustin Johnson and McDowell are about to start in the last group. Johnson is the longest player in the field so watch out for him at holes 3 and 4 with his driver. His 3-iron off the first was down the middle. McDowell hit a hybrid in the right rough. It didn't look like he finished his backswing. 3:45 p.m.  Ryo Ishikawa, the Japanese teenage wonder, who shot a 58 in a tournament in Asia earlier this year, is playing with Ernie Els. Earlier this week I was on the range watching him and he looked liked the Iron Byron machine with his irons. 3:43 p.m.  After a middling approach to the first hole Phil three-putted for a bogey, falling back to even par for the tournament. Not the start he wanted. 3:40 p.m. Some of the players have been saying all week that Pebble Beach is an entirely different course from the one they play in February. I disagree and I think Dustin Johnson could prove my point that it's the same golf course with more grass and faster greens. 3:37 p.m.  Tiger is back to even par for the day and 4 over for the tournament after a bogey at the 8th hole.  3:31 p.m.  As the day goes on, the winds are expected to blow up 25 mph so it could be more difficult for the leaders in the afternoon. Phil just started his round with a 3 or 4 iron down the right side of the fairway. 3:27 p.m. It's hard not to be interested in Phil's chances at getting the second leg of the Grand Slam. Based on his play this season, he's only fully concentrating at the majors. I wonder if that is the tact that he'll take the rest of his career, regardless of whether or not Amy is sick. 3:24 p.m.  Phil has worked with his short game guru Dave Pelz to workout some technical matters with his putter that stunted him on Thursday.  3:19 p.m.  Tiger had two early bogeys but brought it back nicely with three birdies. He looks relaxed. The USGA has moved the tees up on a couple of the short par 4s on the front—3 and 4—to encourage players to drive the green. It looks like they want it to be a real moving day. 3:16 p.m.  And there is Ernie Els, who has two Opens and is playing his best golf in a long time.  3:12 p.m. After Tiger misses his eagle putt at the 6th, Johnny Miller says that Tiger's game has become more "normal." The main story lines today in the 3rd round are Phil, Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell, who has a two-shot lead. It's Phil's tournament to lose. It's hard to bet against Dustin who has won the last two Pro-ams here. 3:06 p.m.  Good Afternoon. The leaders haven't started and Tiger is even par through 5 with an eagle putt at the 6th hole. Davis Love III had a 30 on the front so there are some birdies out there.
Sports Illustrated's Farrell Evans will live blog the final groups' rounds as the U.S. Open continues at Pebble Beach. Leave a question now and come back at 6 p.m. Eastern to join the conversation. You can also follow round 3 in our Nerve Center, which combines the blog, our leaderboard, and reader discussion in one smaller window. See it here.

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