Ice-cool McDowell three ahead at U.S. Open

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Britain's Graeme McDowell took control of the U.S. Open by moving three shots clear midway through Sunday's final round after overnight pacesetter Dustin Johnson made a nightmare start.

 

Northern Irishman McDowell, aiming to end a 40-year title drought by Europeans at the year's second major, played ice-cool golf in difficult scoring conditions to reach the turn in level-par 35 and three under overall.

 

That left him three ahead of Frenchman Gregory Havret, who was also level for the day after 10 holes on a breezy afternoon at Pebble Beach.

 

Double U.S. Open champion Ernie Els, fan favourite Phil Mickelson and Johnson were a further stroke back in a tie for third at one over.

 

South African Els was one over for the round while American left-hander Mickelson, seeking an elusive first victory in his national open, was level after 10 holes.

 

Johnson, who has won the last two PGA Tour events staged at Pebble Beach, began the day with a commanding three-stroke lead which he spectacularly threw away by dropping seven shots in six holes.

 

He triple-bogeyed the par-five second after taking three shots to escape thick grass above a greenside bunker and double-bogeyed the third after a hooked tee shot led to a lost ball.

 

Two behind playing partner McDowell at that point, he went on to bogey the par-four fourth after pushing his tee shot into the ocean before reaching the turn in seven-over 42.

 

McDowell, winner of the European Tour's Wales Open two weeks ago, was on track to produce one of the tidiest rounds of the day as Pebble Beach bared her teeth.

 

Making clutch putts to save par whenever needed, he picked up his first shot of the day when he knocked in a 10-footer to birdie the par-three fifth.

 

McDowell made his only mistake at the tricky par-four ninth, the second hole in the stretch dubbed "Cliffs of Doom", when he collected a bogey after finding a greenside bunker with his approach.

 

World number one Tiger Woods, who charged into contention with a scorching back nine of five-under 31 for a 66 on Saturday, was among those struggling in the testing conditions.

 

A three-putt bogey at the first set the tone and the 14-times major winner was four over for the round and three over for the tournament after 10 holes.

 

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Ice-cool McDowell three ahead at U.S. Open

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This article was published on 2011/05/23