Glover takes lead, but US Open not decided
AP Sports Writer
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) – The U.S. Open trophy was on display Monday morning. It remained anyone’s guess who would hoist it at day’s end.
The leaders were going the wrong way. Tiger Woods was lurking.
On Championship Monday, this marathon U.S. Open was far from over.
Lucas Glover took a one-shot lead though nine holes over a fast-fading Ricky Barnes. Glover dropped three shots on the front side and was 4 under, while Barnes made four straight bogeys starting at No. 5 to continue a freefall that started Sunday afternoon. Neither leader had a final-round birdie before making the turn.
Barnes led by six shots at one point Sunday, 15 ahead of Woods.
Poof! It didn’t take long for dramatic change at Bethpage Black.
Ross Fisher was 2 under and alone in third place, two strokes back. Mike Weir, Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan were all tied for fourth, 1 under for the championship through 10 holes of the final round.
And Woods was still in it, even as a bogey at the par-4 15th dropped him to even par, four strokes behind Glover – but the defending champion was running out of holes. He made birdies at Nos. 13 and 14, then hit his approach at 15 over the green.
Bethpage had its bite back Monday.
Birdies were rare. Wind was ripping in some areas. And mudballs – players’ biggest fear this rainy week – were increasingly common.
David Duval was in the middle of the fairway on the par-4 7th. His second shot turned dead left, sailing 40 yards past the gallery line and nestling behind a tree – adding to a frustrating day for the former world’s No. 1, who started tied for third place and then made triple-bogey at the par-3 third hole.
It was the harbinger of what awaited at Bethpage on Monday. Just about everyone was dropping shots.
Barnes threatened to make it a runaway on Sunday, getting to 11 under at one point. But he made bogey on 10 of 20 holes in one stretch spanning the third and fourth rounds, the pressure of contending toward the end of a major perhaps getting to him.
Mickelson came into the final day determined to bring a fairy-tale finish to a U.S. Open career filled with disappointment. He has been the runner-up four times in the U.S. Open – three times in New York – and is desperate to bring a silver trophy of cheer home to his wife Amy, who is battling breast cancer and begins treatment July 1.
“I’m one good round away,” Mickelson said.
He wasn’t exactly getting it Monday, though. The good news for Mickelson: Neither were the leaders, leaving him right in the mix.
Woods jumped 26 spots up the leaderboard in the third round, starting tied for 15th, and kept the climb going in the final round. The world’s No. 1 made a putt in the dark for birdie at the 7th hole just as play was stopped Sunday night, hoping that would be the spark.
Woods sought a perfect storm Monday, the combination of him making a bunch of birdies and the leaders making a bunch of mistakes. As improbable as it seemed 24 hours earlier, it was sort of coming together the way he envisioned.
“You have to play a great round of golf and get some help,” Woods said. “Obviously, it’s not totally in my control. Only thing I can control is whether I can play a good one or not.”
It was an unlikely duo in the final group. Forget leading: Barnes has only been within 10 shots of the lead after the third round of a PGA Tour event three times before in his career, and Glover has exactly one win on tour.
“I’ll take a lead in 54 holes after any event, let alone the U.S. Open,” Barnes said.
Glover proudly pointed out after 54 holes that he and Barnes were “playing better than everybody right now,” but was also quick to add that with the caliber of players lurking, someone was going to close the gap.
“There’s too many great players and the golf course is too good,” Glover said. “You know somebody is going to make a run.”
Thing was, Glover and Barnes were the ones on the move – backward.