It's moving day at the U.S. Open but the only real moves being made are tumbles down the leaderboard. After better-than-expected scoring conditions through the first two rounds at Pinehurst No. 2, the course is fighting back in a big way on Saturday. There are only two players under-par at the moment, Victor Dubuisson and Shiv Kapur, who's miraculously in the red at 2-under though his first 11 holes of the third round.
The oil spills and blowups are all over the board, but none worse that Toru Taniguchi's disastrous 18-over round of 88. There will be big numbers lurking all over the course, and a steady even-par round of 70 will probably push a player way up the board. The USGA set up some brutal pin placements, and there's also a stiff breeze for the first time this week, coming out of the North for the first time to confuse the players a bit. And of course there's the fiery and firming-up turf at this restored venue, with greens running at least 12.5 on the stimpmeter and all the drop-offs around the turtleback greens shooting even good shoots many yards off the green.
Phil Mickelson is one of the bigger names out on the course early, and like everyone else, he's struggling to post many red numbers. He went out in an even-par 35, which will be a fine score and put him in a better spot on the board than where he started. It's just that Mickelson began 13 shots off the Kaymer pace, and took things out of his own control.
Mickelson did drop a shot on the extremely difficult and long par-3 sixth, putting his ball in a greenside bunker. The five-time major winner is one of the best out of the bunker and around the green in the history of golf, but he couldn't get this one to stay up on one of Pinehurst's most repellant and slippery greens.
That would result in his first bogey of the day, but he'd get it right back with a red number at the 7th hole. He's now on the back nine, still at 3-over, hoping to roll in one or two birdies coming into the house and that the conditions get even more brutal for all the final tee times heading out now.
Here's a current snapshot of the leaderboard with the leaders finishing up their work on the range:
|1||Martin Kaymer||-10||-||3:25 PM|
|2||Brendon Todd||-4||-||3:25 PM|
|T3||Brandt Snedeker||-3||-||3:14 PM|
|T3||Kevin Na||-3||-||3:14 PM|
|T5||Brooks Koepka||-2||-||3:03 PM|
|T5||Dustin Johnson||-2||-||3:03 PM|
|T5||Brendon de Jonge||-2||-||2:52 PM|
|T5||Keegan Bradley||-2||-||2:52 PM|
|T5||Henrik Stenson||-2||-||2:41 PM|
|T10||Matt Kuchar||-1||-||2:41 PM|
|T10||Rory McIlroy||-1||-||2:30 PM|
|T10||Chris Kirk||-1||-||2:30 PM|
|T10||Jordan Spieth||-1||-||2:19 PM|
|T14||Adam Scott||E||-||2:19 PM|
|T14||Francesco Molinari||E||-||2:08 PM|
|T14||Erik Compton||E||-||2:08 PM|
|T53||Bo Van Pelt||8||4||15|
|T57||Billy Hurley III||10||5||F|