• US Open, Round Three

Westwood sets the target as leaders struggle

ESPN staff
June 16, 2012

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2012 US Open Leaderboard

Lee Westwood gave himself a real chance at claiming his first major victory on Sunday after dragging himself back into contention at the US Open.

With the second round leaders struggling at the start of their third rounds on Saturday, Westwood breezed around the course in 67 to get into the clubhouse at two-over and leave himself just a shot off the front at the time he finished on the 18th.

The world No. 3 made a steady start of four consecutive pars over the treacherous opening stretch at Olympic Club, before bursting into life during the mid-part of his round. Four birdies and two bogeys in a seven-hole stretch saw him bound up the leaderboard as those around him kept leaking shots, but he was unable to press home the momentum and take advantage of the two back nine par-fives as he made his way to the last.

He would make up for those missed opportunities with a long range birdie at the short 18th, however, eventually signing for a three-under par round that put him just two-over for the tournament.

The Englishman is two-under par for the 48 holes he has played since making a torrid start to the tournament on Thursday, making him a prime contender for victory on Sunday as the late starters all dropped shots early.

Webb Simpson, who nearly won the PGA Tour money list last season, is three-over after 54 holes - as are John Senden and Kevin Chappell, who is looking for another strong finish after ending up in a tie for third last year at Congressional.

Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen is within striking distance at four-over, along with Martin Kaymer.

American Casey Wittenberg tied Westwood for the low score of the day so far, firing an impressive round of 67 to climb to five-over for the tournament after barely making the cut.

Of those other players who just managed to make it into the field for the weekend, Phil Mickelson carded a round of 71 to stay well out of contention at eight-over, alongside Matteo Manassero and Ian Poulter but a shot ahead of Rickie Fowler.

At the other end of the field, Tiger Woods bogeyed three of his first six holes to slip out of the early lead, as he and playing partner Jim Furyk became the final players to slip over par for the tournament as they tried to stay ahead of their rivals.

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