Tiger Woods' showdown with Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson


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The Independent Online

Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson have been grouped together for the first two rounds of next week's US Open. That is not the only stellar grouping for the Olympic Club in San Francisco, defending champion Rory McIlroy plays alongside world No 1 Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.

The last time Woods was paired with Mickelson for the first two rounds of a US Open was in 2008 when he won the tournament for the third time. Another tasty grouping has South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, who was beaten by Watson in a play-off at the Masters, paired with last year's US Open runner-up, Australian Jason Day, and 2011 US PGA runner-up American Jason Dufner.

Meanwhile, Westwood carded an eight-under-par 64 to take control of the Nordea Masters in Stockholm yesterday. The Worksop golfer, who shot a 68 on Wednesday, registered eight birdies at Bro Hof Slott yesterday to take a three-shot clubhouse lead at 12 under par after two rounds.

Scotland's Lloyd Saltman also shot a 64 to take joint second place with Peter Hanson, while overnight leader Magnus Carlsson is five shots off the lead having gone round in level par.

Westwood – who has skipped the traditional pre-US Open event, the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis, to be in Sweden – was out in the second group of the day and admitted he was delighted with his score.

"I deserved a 64. You have to be precise around this course," Westwood said. "I think in the morning the greens are easier."