U.S. Open: Hunter Mahan in the hunt at Merion, one shot off the lead

Former Oklahoma State golfer Hunter Mahan briefly shared the lead Saturday before two late bogeys dropped him to one-under-par 69 for the day, a shot behind Phil Mickelson.
BY JON MARKS, For The Oklahoman Published: June 15, 2013
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photo - Hunter Mahan tees off on the ninth hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Saturday, June 15, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) ORG XMIT: USO227
Hunter Mahan tees off on the ninth hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Saturday, June 15, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) ORG XMIT: USO227

“This course tests you from tee to green. Those last two holes (which he bogeyed) are the hardest holes on the course probably, so I did a lot of good things today.

“You really can't be upset at shooting under par.”

Especially if you're Fowler, who recorded the day's best round, three-under 67.

“Finally I kind of pieced everything together,'' said Fowler, who came into the day six-over after shooting 70-76 through the first two rounds. “I played well the first day scoring.

“Yesterday (Friday) I just had a bad stretch and today I just made a few putts to keep the round going.

“But I feel like if I get off to a good start tomorrow, get through the first six holes, stay patient, stay within myself, I can play well from there on in.''

Mahan and Fowler weren't the only former Oklahoma State golfers to fare well Saturday. Bo Van Pelt shot a 72 to move into a tie for 16th. And Edward Loar at one point was three-under for the day with his name on the leader board, but he faded down the stretch, finishing with a 73 to go seven-over.

But today most Sooner State eyes figure to be on Fowler and particularly Mahan, who'll be trying to erase his name with all those others from the dreaded “best player to never win a major” category.

“It's going to be a very, very exciting finish because I don't think any lead is safe,” Mahan said. “You just don't know what's going to happen.”

All he can hope is that perhaps this will be the day the golfing gods smile on him. And what better time than now?

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