Retief Goosen put himself in the frame for a third US Open title after a one under par 69 at the Olympic Club left him at just four over and very much in touch with the leaders.
The winner in 2001 and 2004 will bring all his experience to bear as the course continues to dry out, conditions Goosen likened to Shinnecock Hills where he won his second US Open title.
“It's going to be tough and the greens are getting a little like Shinnecock and if I can keep hitting fairways and greens tomorrow give myself a few chances, you never know.”
Mention of Shinnecock might strike fear into the players as the USGA lost the greens that week but Goosen, playing his 15th US Open, said conditions were not there yet.
“There’s one green, the 15th which has dried out at the front but the rest are pretty good although I am out three hours before the leaders.”
Goosen made three birdies but dropped shots on the par three 13th and then at the last, slightly taking the edge from what was a great round in San Francisco.
“The last hole is disappointing,” he said. “If I gave myself a chance for a birdie today and to finish up with a birdie would have been a big difference. Two shots behind or three shots behind going into the last round is a bit easier than going to be four or five behind.
“I think probably somebody will maybe finish in the red numbers today; but I'm up there. My game's not been that good the last few months and it's nice to play well again.”
Goosen was leading for all four rounds in 2001 at Southern Hills and from the halfway stage in 2004 so he will be chasing this time around but knows what to expect.
“The key is hitting fairways - par is a great score tomorrow.
“I would love to have the opportunity coming down the last five, six holes being only one or two behind tomorrow. That would be great fun."