Faldo's sinking feeling

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The Independent Online
NICK FALDO'S charge through the US Open field manifested itself in the third round here yesterday, except he was heading in the wrong direction. Instead of challenging for the lead, he was plummeting.

Beginning five shots behind the leader, Greg Norman, Faldo had a calamitous start to his round, dropping three strokes in the first four holes. To thoroughly make his day, he was also warned for slow play.

The wind got above breeze strength for the first time yesterday, conditions that should have suited Faldo, who is more experienced at links golf than the Americans. There was little to betray his expertise at the first, however, a hole that precipitated his fall.

His drive was in the right rough but the damage was done with his approach shot that hit the green and kept on running. Through the gallery it went and stopped only because a small bush got in the way. To compound a scruffy hole, he missed a putt from two feet for a double bogey six. By the turn he was five over for the day.

While Faldo was retreating, Ian Woosnam was going in the opposite direction. The Welshman has been in wretched form, but yesterday he carded a one- under-par 69 that left him two over on 272 and gave him hope. "If I'm within five or six shots of the lead at the end of the day I'll have a chance," he said.

Woosnam's tournament was galvanised by a glorious three-iron to six feet at the par-five 535-yard fifth. That gave him an eagle and when he birdied the 10th and 11th with putts of six feet and three feet he appeared on the leaderboard for the first time.

Drives into the rough at the 13th and 14th ended that, but he recaptured his grip on his game to finish the last four holes in regulation, a rare feat in the conditions. "If I could keep it on the fairway I could score well," he said. "My iron play is fine."

Which was not how you could describe Colin Montgomerie, whose relish for the US Open as the major he thinks he has the best chance of winning diminished yesterday thanks to a five-over-par 75. He has a more articulate body language than most, and for much of the week his head has been bowed and his posture broken. Yesterday a bogey at the third, the result of an approach that flew over the green, was enough for the gloom to set in.

But his mood was positively sunny compared to the trough he entered at the turn. For the first time during the tournament the wind had got beyond breeze strength, making club selection difficult and, in Montgomerie's case, nearly impossible.

At the ninth his approach went 25 yards past and he yielded a bogey, at the next, a par four, he carded a seven. Montgomerie, who lost in a play-off to South Africa's Ernie Els last year, also bogeyed the 11th, so in three holes he had dropped five shots, the margin by which his round was over par by the time he finished.

His 10-over-par total of 220 will ensure a morning start and an early finish today, which will suit his travel plans. "I'm looking forward to going home," he said. "I'll try again next year.

Britain's Barry Lane carded a one-over 71 yesterday for a three-round total of 217, although had he gone round in 10 shots more it would still have been an improvement on what he expected to be doing. When he saw Norman score 135 Lane, who was on 146, knew he no longer could qualify for the final two rounds by being within 10 strokes of the leader, and assumed he would not make the cut. "As soon as I saw Norman chip in on the 18th, I thought `That's it'. I packed up, got in the car and drove to the local airport," he said.

Just before boarding his flight he phoned Shinnecock, however, and discovered he had scraped in. "It was a nice surprise," he said.

Olazabal's pain, page 7

Scores from the US Open

THIRD ROUND (US unless stated)

214

F Nobilo (NZ) 72 72 70

215

G Hallberg 70 76 69

216

B Bryant 75 71 70

P Goydos 73 73 70

S Hoch 74 72 70

P Jordan 74 71 71

217

B Lane (GB) 74 72 71

218

D Edwards 72 74 72

B Ogle (Aus) 71 75 72

M Hulbert 74 72 72

P Stewart 71 74 73

P Jacobsen 72 72 74

219

T Tryba 71 75 73

C Perry 70 74 75

E Romero (Arg) 73 71 75

220

J Connelly 75 71 74

J Daly 71 75 74

J Maginnes 75 71 74

T Armour 77 69 74

O Uresti 71 74 75

C Montgomerie (GB) 71 74 75

B Burns 73 72 75

221

H Sutton 71 74 76

J Cook 75 70 76

C Pena 74 71 76

222

R Floyd 74 72 76

223

J Gallagher 75 71 77

225

J Gullion 70 74 81

SECOND ROUND

135

G Norman (Aus) 68 67

137

M Ozaki (Japan) 69 68

138

P Mickelson 68 70

B Tway 69 69

139

B Glasson 69 70

N Price (Zim) 66 73

140

N Faldo (GB) 68 72

D Love 72 68

C Byrum 70 70

M Roe (GB) 71 69

141

S Verplank 72 69

B Andrade 72 69

S Lowery 69 72

M McCumber 70 71

S Stricker 71 70

B Langer (Ger) 74 67

J Maggert 69 72

C Pavin 72 69

V Singh (Fiji) 70 71

J Sluman 72 69

142

J McGovern 73 69

N Lancaster 70 72

D Waldorf 72 70

T Lehman 70 72

S Simpson 67 75

L Janzen 70 72

T Kite 70 72

C Strange 70 72

G Bruckner 70 72

143

B Hughes (Aus) 72 71

J M Olazabal (Sp) 73 70

J Haas 70 73

D Duval 70 73

I Woosnam (GB) 72 71

T Watson 70 73

M Brisky 71 72

B Crenshaw 72 71

F Zoeller 69 74

B Porter 73 70

M Gogel 73 70

B Jobe 71 72

144

G Boros 73 71

M A Jimenez (Sp) 72 72

B Faxon 71 73

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