US Open - Johnson leads as Tiger roars

Eurosport - Sun, 20 Jun 09:08:00 2010

Dustin Johnson shot a superb third round 66 to lead the US Open at Pebble Beach - but Tiger Woods is stalking close behind.

- 0

Woods overcame a poor start to shoot one of the best rounds of his career with a 66 on the third day of the championship - see the separate story to read full details of his exploits and see his scorecard.

Yet Johnson's round was equally extraordinary, particularly in a storming finish that saw him birdie the final two holes on the course to leave long-time leader Graeme McDowell three shots back going into Sunday's finale.

McDowell had played superb golf throughout the day after opening with a pair of birdies, dropping just one shot in his opening 15 holes as he scrambled masterfully.

Yet a terrible lie on the 16th and a nervous missed putt on the 17th saw him record a round of 71 for a three under par total that left him alone in second place.

Playing alongside Woods in the penultimate group on Sunday will be France's Gregory Havret, whose sparkling 69 belied both his terrible 2010 so far and the fact that he is competing in his first US Open.

Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson remained in the hunt despite not showing their best golf on Saturday, with Els shooting a 72 to be level for the tournament and Mickelson saving par from the beach on the 18th to ensure that he is on his own in sixth place at one over par.

Both will fancy their chances, but with Johnson playing so well the tournament seems his to lose - particularly for a player who has twice won US Tour events at Pebble Beach.

His superb round burst to life when he drove the par-4 4th green with a 2-iron and holed the eagle putt before adding birdies on the 6th, 7th and 11th.

Pebble bared its teeth as it did with the entire field, with Johnson losing shots after loose drives on the 9th and 13th - but a wedge shot to set up a birdie on 11 kept him neck-and-neck with McDowell for most of the afternoon.

But where the Northern Ireland golfer dropped shots late on, Johnson holed a stupendous side-hill birdie putt on 17 before reaching the long par-5 18th with a drive and a 6-iron, adding a closing birdie with a safe two putt.

Tim Clark, Ryo Ishikawa and Alex Cejka remain just about in touch on three over par, but there was huge disappointment for the English contingent.

Paul Casey (77, +6), Ian Poulter (77, +7) and Lee Westwood (76, +8) all struggled to master the bright and breezy conditions, while Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington both shot 74s to finish seven over par going into the final round.

  • Johnson leads as Woods bounces back
Toby Keel / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account