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U.S. OPEN

Start to finish, Oakmont is the winner

Day 3: Baddeley leads, but Tiger's in the mix

June 18, 2007|Thomas Bonk

How it played: The greens seemed softer, the pins weren't diabolical and Tiger Woods made the most of it -- but he couldn't do anything about Aaron Baddeley.

Baddeley birdied the last hole, signed for his second straight round of 70 and took a two-shot lead over a charging Woods, whose 69 could have been a lot lower with any luck on the greens.

"Hey, I put myself right there in the tournament, right in the mix," Woods said. "I'm right there."

The scoring average for the field dipped to 74.6, a far cry from Friday's 76.9.

Eight players ended the day within four shots of Baddeley, including Paul Casey, Stephen Ames, Justin Rose and Bubba Watson, who finished at five-over 215.

Baddeley's 54-hole score of 212 was two over.

Woods birdied two of the first four holes, then made 13 straight pars. At least he hit the first fairway, the only time he had done it this week. By the way, the par-four No. 1 was the toughest hole on this day, playing to an average of 4.58.

Saw it coming: A whole lot of Woods. NBC couldn't get enough of Tiger in its telecast and neither could the gallery at Oakmont Country Club, who lined up five to six deep to follow Woods and playing partner Nick Dougherty.

Woods hit every green except the last one, where he made his only bogey of the day.

Afterward, Woods said he was in a good spot to make a run at winning his 13th major.

Woods' coach, Hank Haney, on the putting green before the round, said that Woods felt he was ready for a good round. That's good coaching or good knowledge.

Didn't see it coming: But we probably should have. Woods took the tournament lead in greens in regulation, 70.4%.

Quote of the day: Ian Poulter, who shot a two-over 72 and was 11 over after his round, on what he would have to do to win: "I will have to shoot a Johnny Miller."

-- Thomas Bonk

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