Saturday, 16 June 2012
Lee Westwood  (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood and Retief Goosen were on the charge as the third round of the US Open Championship began in San Francisco.

World Number Three Westwood and two-time winner Goosen both started the day on five over, six adrift of leading American trio Tiger Woods, David Toms and Jim Furyk.

Before the leaders teed off at a sun-drenched Olympic Club, Westwood and Goosen had both climbed into the top ten.

Westwood, looking to win his first Major at the 57th time of asking, negotiated the difficult first six holes in a brilliant one under thanks to an eight foot birdie at the fifth, then knocked in a three footer at the driveable for another gain.

At three over the Englishman was only four behind, and in a share of ninth place.

South African Goosen, who won both his Majors in this event in 2001 and 2004, birdied the sixth and tenth to also make a serious move.

Leading European Tour Members Graeme McDowell and Nicolas Colsaerts, both one over at the halfway stage, were due to tee off shortly.

Westwood bogeyed the short eighth and slipped to 14th alongside Padraig Harrington, who parred the first seven.

There was a dream start for first round leader Michael Thompson. He drove into the rough and just chopped out, but then sank his 170 yard third for a birdie that made him level par and only one behind.

Northern Ireland's 2010 winner McDowell remained two behind with a solid opening four, as did the big-hitting Colsaerts.

Woods, Furyk and Toms all bogeyed the 520 yard first - the third longest par four in US Open history - and when Westwood came back from another bogey at the ninth with back-to-back birdies he was joint eighth and only three behind at three over.

First he holed from 12 feet and then he hit his approach from the right-hand rough to five feet.

Woods paid the penalty for pulling his three wood opening shot into the edge of the rough, while Toms and Furyk both missed the green off good drives and could not get up and down.

McDowell parred the second and so was only one back, while Thompson would have been back in a share of top spot but for finding sand at the third and bogeying.

Before teeing off McDowell said: "At the US Open 'Moving Day' just means don't move back. I'd like to fast-forward and still be two behind going into the final round."

So far things were going better than that for the 32 year old.

Toms also bogeyed the third - and so did Woods by three-putting from just short of the green.

It left Furyk alone in front at level par and he needed to get up and down from sand on the second and from rough at the next, his chip hitting the flagstick at speed and stopping six feet away.

McDowell missed a 15 foot chance on the fourth, but was joint second, with Westwood seventh following pars at the 12th and 13th.

Goosen bogeyed the last but with a 69 was only four over and in with a real chance of a third title on Sunday.

“I played solid today,” he said. “Disappointing finish on the last, but I’m looking forward to the round tomorrow. The key is hitting fairways - par is a great score tomorrow.”

After taking three from the edge of the 17th green for par, the 38 year old rattled in a curling 40 foot birdie putt at the last to move to two over with a round to play.

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