ERIN, Wis. (AP) — Jordan Spieth’s first attempt to get out of the bunker on the 18th hole Saturday ended badly. The ball slid back down the sandy slope until it came to a rest near his footprints.
It was a fitting end to a frustrating day for Spieth at the U.S. Open.
“It’s been an off-putting week for me,” Spieth said. “Searching for it, but just haven’t quite finished out a major with the speed.”
Spieth shot a 4-under 76 in a third round that ended with a double bogey on the par-5 18th . Spieth was at 4 over for the tournament — 16 shots behind leader Brian Harman.
The fifth-ranked player in the world has had his ups and downs this year.
Spieth missed the cut at The Players Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson before tying for second after shooting a 65 in the final round at the Colonial.
He said he felt like he was back on the upswing at the Colonial. A week later, at the Memorial, Spieth shot a 66 in the first round before fizzling and tying for 13th.
“And out here I’m just thinking a lot about my stroke, stance, stuff you would rather not be thinking about. You’d rather think about line of pace,” Spieth said Saturday. “But I can’t do that yet because I haven’t figured out the other part.”
LOUIS LOUIS: For a while Saturday, Louis Oosthuizen looked as if he would make one of the biggest moves up the leaderboard after shooting a 68 in the third round to move to 4 under.
His outlook for making a final-round charge changed considerably once the afternoon groups teed off.
“But it’s soft conditions. The guys are going to shoot low. I can see the guys in the afternoon shooting that score easily,” Oosthuizen said.
To say the least.
The birdies started piling up as the round drew to a close. By the end of the day, Oosthuizen was eight shots back of leader Brian Harman.
But Oostihuizen knows how quickly momentum can swing at a U.S. Open.
Two years ago, he carded a 29 on the back nine of the final round at Chambers Bay, equaling the lowest nine-hole score in U.S. Open history. He finished in a tie for second at 4 under after an opening 77.
“I’m probably going to be six behind teeing off tomorrow, six or maybe even more,” Oosthuizen said. “But it’s all on how you start. You can have a really fast start and just get up the leaderboard, and you never know what can happen.”
STRICKER’S DAY: Home-state favorite Steve Stricker keeps feeling the love from U.S. Open fans.
He nearly gave them a final few holes to remember in the third round.
Stricker birdied three of four holes going into the par-5 18th. But his 9-foot putt to save par edged just short of the hole, and he had to tap in for bogey.
Stricker shot a 69 to move to 2 under going into the final round.
“Yeah, a little disappointing the way I finished there on 18. Really a solid day, though, all the way around,” Stricker said.
Stricker, who turned 50 this year, seems to be rejuvenated on the course. Now eligible for the PGA Champions Tour, Stricker is playing more this year than in recent seasons.
“Tomorrow will be fun and special, just going around here and being a part of this first U.S. Open here in Wisconsin,” Stricker said. “It will just be cool in itself.”
CINKING IN: Stewart Cink had a bad start to the third round of his 20th U.S. Open.
His first four holes went this way: double bogey, bogey, bogey, bogey.
“When you start off like that, you’re whole system gets shaken up. It’s hard not to struggle with your focus a little bit,” Cink said.
He ended up with two birdies and no bogeys over his last five holes.
“Stabilized is a good word for it. But when you’re 5 over through four holes, you don’t need to stabilize, you need to completely turn it around,” Cink said.
The 2009 British Open winner made his first appearance at the U.S. Open in three years, having secured a qualifying spot at the Columbus, Ohio, sectional. His best finish at the U.S. Open was third in 2001.
Third-round disappointment aside, Cink is still looking forward to playing on Sunday. It also happens to be his 24th wedding anniversary with his wife, Lisa.
“It’s so nice to be playing on my anniversary that we’re moving our anniversary officially this year to Tuesday,” Cink said. “It’ll be a lot more like any other Sunday.”
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