June 16, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO -- A third-round 68 on Saturday has former UAB golfer Graeme McDowell tied atop the leaderboard going into the final day of the 112th U.S. Open at the Olympic Club.
McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, heads into Sunday's closing 18 holes tied with Jim Furyk, who won the 2003 event, at 1-under par.
After eight pars and one bogey on his opening nine holes Saturday, McDowell played the back nine in 3-under par 33. The Northern Ireland native birdied the 18th hole to get to 1-under for the tournament as the only player in red figures at that time.
Furyk shortly birdied the 17th and closed with a par to finish with a round of even-par 70, matching McDowell at 1-under through 54 holes. That pair will take a two-shot lead into the final round over Fredrik Jacobson of Sweden, who is 1-over par.
A group of four players, including world No. 3 Lee Westwood and two-time U.S. Open champion Ernie Els, is three shots back at 2-over. Six more players are four shots back at 3-over.
"I hit some good shots coming in," McDowell said. "It was great to play the back nine 3-under to get myself in mix. That was really the goal for the day. Today was just really about trying to position for tomorrow, execute my game plan and give myself a chance tomorrow to win."
McDowell, UAB's 2002 Haskins Award winner who opened with a 69 on Thursday and shot a 72 on Friday, joins Els as the only two players in the field to post two rounds in the 60s so far.
UAB men's golf coach Alan Kaufman is at the Olympic Club, following McDowell as he did two years ago when the Blazers' former two-time All-American came back from three shots down entering the final round to claim his first major title.
McDowell and Furyk will be paired together in the final group Sunday afternoon and will tee off at 3:10 p.m. PT (5:10 p.m. CT). They also played together for the first two rounds of the tournament. NBC's final-round coverage begins Sunday at 3 p.m. CT.