Friday, 19 March 2010
U.S. Open - Third Round  (Getty Images)
U.S. Open - Third Round (Getty Images)

American Ricky Barnes will take a one shot lead into the final round of The US Open Championship - but England’s Ross Fisher remains well placed in the chasing pack at Bethpage Black.

On another overcast day in New York, play was suspended until noon (1700 BST) as a result of heavy overnight rain, meaning the fourth round is set be concluded on a Monday for the first time in 26 years.

Barnes, playing his first full year on the PGA Tour in his seventh year as a professional, held an astonishing six shot advantage at one stage after following a birdie at the par four second with an eagle at the par five fourth.

A number of bogeys halted his progress thereafter, but he was still able to card a level par round of 70.

Lucas Glover remained close behind in second after recovering from a miserable run of four dropped shots in three holes to also post 70, with Fisher tied for third place on three under following an impressive 69.

The 28 year old recorded 15 pars, two birdies and one bogey to move into serious contention and could count himself unfortunate not to be closer to Barnes and Glover after seeing a host of birdie opportunities slip by.

“If I had putted half decent and had 27 or 28 putts I would be 14 under easily,” he said. “I have hit the ball that well.

“Even if I had had 30 putts today I would be ten under. Yesterday I had 34 or 35 and if you shave some of them off then you are looking at a ridiculous number, but that’s golf and you don’t always hole them.

“I still have one round to go though and if I can hole a few I can give myself a chance.

“One’s thing’s for sure – it’s going to be an awesome final round.”

Alongside Fisher was former world number one David Duval, who birdied two of his final three holes on his way to a gutsy 70.

World number two Phil Mickelson was one of three players a shot further back following an erratic round of 69 which contained seven birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey.

Also on two under were Canada’s Mike Weir, who could only manage one birdie in a third round of 74, and America’s Hunter Mahan, who shot a second successive 68.

Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen also carded 68 for the second day in a row to move into contention at one under.

He was joined by Americans Todd Hamilton, Sean O’Hair and Bubba Watson, whose 67 represented the best round of the day.

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell carded a 69 to move to level par for the tournament.

“It’s been a long week for everyone but I am looking forward to getting going and trying to post a number in the final round,” said McDowell.

“I am just about in it. If the leaders come back to five or six under par then I have every chance.”

Soren Hansen and Oliver Wilson were a shot behind McDowell on one over following rounds of 70 and 71 respectively.

They were joined by world number one Tiger Woods, who kept his slim hopes of defending his title alive with a round of 68.

Sergio Garcia went round in 72 to drop to two over for the tournament, the same score as Lee Westwood, who briefly moved to four under earlier in the day before eventually carding a 74.

Rory McIlroy was on four over after he, like Garcia, posted a 72 in round three.

“I probably need a 66 to finish in the top ten but some of the guys are coming back a bit so hopefully I can shoot a low last round and move up a bit,” said the 20 year old.

“It’s been a good week for me so far and hopefully I can finish it off with a good score.”

The final round was set to commence later in the evening, with players once again starting from the first and tenth tees.

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