- US Open, Round Three
Stats stacking up in Woods' favour
Here's one for the stats fans: Tiger Woods has been top of the leaderboard, or tied for the lead, nine times at the halfway point in majors. On eight of those occasions he has gone on to win. What's that? Did someone say a foregone conclusion?
On the day he turned 42 years young, Phil Mickelson was eager to kick-start his birthday celebrations by hauling himself into contention. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be: he shot a creditable one-over 71 but fell to eight-over overall. Still, it wasn't all bad - the watching gallery sitting in the stands above the 18th green belted out a cracking rendition of 'Happy Birthday' as the four-time major champion walked by. Who needs presents when you can be serenaded?
Furyk prepares for battle
Looking ahead to the third round, co-leader Jim Furyk spoke as if he was heading into a war zone rather than onto a golf course. He said: "Obviously it's going to get probably even more firm and fast and even more of a stern test for the weekend... It can snowball very quickly here. It's tough to kind of put a tourniquet on it and stop the bleeding and get the momentum changed back in the right direction at this golf course... There's not a lot of let up."
Watch out for Lee Westwood on Sunday. Two-over for the tournament after a fine third round of 67, the Englishman has scored par or better in the final round of his last eight major appearances. A two-over - or even one-over - total come the end of the fourth round could well prove enough for the world No. 3 to break his major duck.
It loves me, it loves me not
Marc Warren may not win this year's US Open, but the Scot has certainly made a name for himself this week in San Francisco - although he'd probably prefer to remain anonymous when he realises why. The fiendishly difficult course at Olympic Club is unlikely to have made many friends this week, but it's the opening hole that Warren has the most beef with. He bogeyed it on day one, double bogeyed it on Friday, and then chalked up another six on the par-four at the start of his third round. If only you could pick and choose the holes you played, eh Marc!
What's all the fuss about?
Tiger Woods described the course at Olympic Club as "really, really tough" and Rory McIlroy labelled it "such a demanding golf course". But not everyone agreed after Saturday's third round: America's Steve LeBrun may have only scooped $28,000 in earnings to date in 2012, but he stands to double his entire year's money pot after a one-under 69 saw him move to seven-over for the tournament.
Stephen Ames breathed a huge sigh of relief as he narrowly survived the cut on Friday, finishing just inside the nine-over cut-off at seven-over. However, any hopes of putting his nightmare start behind him were quickly dashed as he made five bogeys and a double in his opening seven holes on Saturday, eventually ending an horrendous round on nine-over to leave him 16-over for the week. And the tragedy? He's still got another 18 holes to come.
Like mother, like son
Young American John Peterson enjoyed a moment he will never forget at the par-three 13th on Saturday, as he recorded his first ever hole-in-one during the biggest tournament of his life. It was later revealed that his mother, who had never played the game before going on her honeymoon, actually got an ace with the first swing she ever took at a golf ball on a proper course. So the spawn still has some work to do to catch up with his mother, then.