U.S. Open Heats Up With 17 Left To Go
The 2009 U.S. Open has been held hostage by rain but finally, perhaps it will end sometime on Monday.
Here's what we know after 54 holes and a few holes of the final round in the books:
At the top, we find Cinderella A and Cinderella B, Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover. Two huge underdogs sit atop the 60 players who survived the 36-hole cut.
Both Barnes and Glover finished the third round with even-par 70s, with Barnes clinging to a one-shot lead at eight-under.
All it took was one hole of the fourth round to create a tie at the top—a bogey at one dropped Barnes to seven-under with Lucas.
Things continued to go south for the former U.S. Amateur champion, as he found the high grass with his drive on the second hole.
It was the horn signaling an end to play that perhaps delayed another possible bogey for Barnes.
Going into Monday morning, there is a lot of uncertainty—and perhaps, finally, some real excitement and drama in the air.
Here's what we know with 17 holes to play.
Phil Mickelson Has A Shot To Win
Just when you thought the peoples' choice—Phil Mickelson—might not get into the final run for the title, think again.
Philly Mick is right there and with the possibility of the leaders faltering, he could be right in the thick of it.
"I'm 18 good holes away," he told NBC's Mark Rolfing after the third round.
Indeed, Mickelson is one of four players who entered the final 18 holes with a shot at the title.
If the leaders falter at all, it will give Mickelson a great chance to make a run at his first Open title.
He has momentum on his side:
He made a long, curling putt to finish the third round and brought the crowd into hysterics. He said "Yes, yes, yes" to himself three times, pumping his fist when the improbably birdie putt found the hole.
If Mickelson can shoot 66 or better, he has a shot.
Tiger Is Not Totally Out of the Mix
It seems like it took Tiger Woods a week to get back to even par for the tournament.
Things just haven't gone his way since he shot 74 in the first round, as he has had oh-so-many
near-misses with the putter.
Yes, he has disappointed his fans, but he's still in the mix.
If Tiger can somehow work his way to five-under by the time he finishes his fourth round, he could find the miracle he needs.
Mike Weir Fell Flat On His Face
With Mickelson and Woods trying to work their way back into the fray, most figured that Mike Weir would make a Sunday move and put pressure on the leaders, Barnes and Glover.
It just didn't happen for the little lefty from Canada.
Weir had problems finding the fairway in the third round and paid for his lack of accuracy off the tee with a 74 that left him at one-under.
Weir was perhaps the biggest disappointment of the third round.
The Duval Comeback Continues
If Barnes and Glover are Cinderella stories, then what do we call David Duval?
The Comeback Kid of the 2009 Open has done nothing but hang in there and give us all he's got for 54-holes. His rounds of 67-70-70 are simply astounding.
He had his chances to fall apart Sunday, but refused to give in. He showed grit and genuine emotion at times that he never showed when he was the No. 1 player in the world.
Come Monday, Duval has a chance.
But the fact that he's played this well in a difficult major gives us reason to believe that he is well on his way back from obscurity.
Mahan's Under The Radar
Perhaps the player garnering the least attention while still in the hunt is Hunter Mahan—although Ross Fisher from the European Tour, who is two-under with Mahan could claim that title.
Mahan has proven that he has a lot of game and could make a run on Monday.
Fisher is less known to U.S. fans but is an established player abroad. Still, don't look for him to hoist the trophy when it's over sometime today.
It will be a wild Monday at Bethpage.
The winner will no doubt be the player who manages the pressure and his own game.