PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — No good scores to be had at Pebble Beach? Don’t tell that to Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand.
Jaidee made the first hole-in-one of this year’s U.S. Open, acing the fifth hole during early play in Saturday’s third round.
He wasn’t the only one putting up red numbers early on a cool, breezy day on the Monterey Peninsula.
Last year’s Masters runner-up, 49-year-old Kenny Perry, made four birdies over his first seven holes to get to 3 over, in a tie for 16th.
Davis Love III went birdie-birdie-eagle on Nos. 2, 3 and 4 to also get to 3 over. He made bogey on No. 5, then birdied the par-5 sixth to get back in the 16th-place tie with Perry. Love’s only major championship was the 1997 PGA, and he hasn’t finished in the top 10 in any major since 2005.
And British Open champion Stewart Cink made two birdies to finish the front nine in 2-under 33 and get to 5 over for the tournament.
The tee box on the short par-4 fourth hole was moved up for Saturday’s play, 284 yards from the stick, making the hole drivable, especially if the wind is coming from the West, which it was on Saturday morning.
The USGA was not as liberal in watering the course overnight, and the wind was gusting up to 16 mph, which could dry the course and make things progressively more difficult for the afternoon and evening rounds.
And, yes, they will be playing late.
In an effort to televise the tournament in prime time on the East Coast, the USGA set a 6:50 p.m. EDT tee time for leader Graeme McDowell, who comes into the weekend at 3-under-par 139. He leads Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Dustin Johnson and Ryo Ishikawa by two strokes.
Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh tee off about two hours before McDowell, each seven shots off the lead.
Mickelson was set to play with Alex Cejka, one of four players who come into the weekend at even-par 142. Mickelson, seeking his first U.S. Open victory after a record five second-place finishes, shot a 5-under 66 on Friday to climb back in contention.
“I’m in a good spot,” he said after a second round in which he beat the entire field at a major for the first time in his career. “I don’t look at the leaderboard. I don’t look at other players. I look at par. If you can stay around par, you’re going to be in the tournament Sunday. That was kind of the goal.”
Also on the course was 60-year-old Tom Watson, who made the cut on the number and could be playing in his last U.S. Open. Watson, who hit the iconic chip-in on No. 17 to seal his victory at Pebble Beach in 1982, made a bogey and two birdies to move to 6 over through six holes.