US Open 2014 Scores: Biggest Surprises from Day 3

Richard Leivenberg@@richiemarketingContributor IIIJune 14, 2014

US Open 2014 Scores: Biggest Surprises from Day 3

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Surprise, surprise, the U.S. Open is very tough.

    So, in the least surprising occurrence of Day 3 at the 2014 U.S. Open, Martin Kaymer could not continue his record-setting pace, shooting a two-over 72 to fall to within five strokes of a clamoring field of players.

    Kaymer, who had shot a pair of 65s while setting an Open record of 130 over 36 holes, entered the day at 10-under par and six ahead of the next player.

    Still, the rest of the field, befuddled by Pinehurst’s odd-shaped hump-backed greens and natural rough, could not take advantage of Kaymer’s poor play as they were just trying to keep from falling back themselves. 

    True to U.S. Open form, the speedy greens were downright tortuous.

    So, perhaps the biggest surprise was that no one pulled out their hair as balls were often hitting the surface and just rolling right off. At one point, two-time Open champ Ernie Els hit two shots out of the sand that rolled back in.

    Here are the surprises from the third day at the 2014 U.S. Open.

Erik Compton

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    This is only the second major that Compton has played in. But that is not the whole story for the man tied for second place.

    The 34-year-old has undergone two heart transplants in his short life, so what’s the big deal about a little competition at a U.S. Open.

    Compton followed a 68 on Day 2 with a masterful three-under 67 that featured five birdies and an eagle.

    No doubt it is a huge surprise to find him among the last two groups on Sunday at Pinehurst 2.

The Best Shot of the Day

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The best shot of the day and maybe the tournament was not by one of the new young stars or even by one of the elite players.

    It was made by the oldest player out there, 53-year-old Kenny Perry. 

    Perry knocked a hybrid out of the rough and into the cup from 220 yards on the 479-yard par-four 14th hole.

    The very surprised and surprising Perry, who won the Senior Open to qualify for Pinehurst, shot a 74 and is four over for the tournament. 

Scott, McIlroy and Mickelson Disappear

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    Three stars who could have made a charge on moving day succumbed to mediocrity at Pinehurst 2.

    As the No. 1 player in the world, Adam Scott surely had higher hopes than being 11 shots off the pace. But after shooting his second three-over round in three days, he can only hope to do better in the future.

    Rory McIlroy, who seemingly had regained his championship form after winning the BMW Championship recently, couldn’t find the cup and shot a meager 74 to leave him at three-over for the tournament.

    Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite, Phil Mickelson continued to have putting woes as he went two-over for the day and is now mired at five-over for the tournament. Mickelson’s quest for his first U.S. Open title continues.

    Well, there’s always next year.

Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson

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    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    It may not be that surprising to find two of golf’s best players at the top of the leaderboard. 

    But both Stenson and Johnson pushed themselves out of their recent funks to surge into a tie for fourth place at two-under.

    Stenson, who was the FedEx Cup winner last year, has only one top-10 finish so far this year. His three rounds of 69-69-70 are by far his best outing of the season and couldn’t have come at a better time.

    Johnson, who actually has six top-10 finishes this year and is fourth in FedEx Cup points, is coming off two poor outings. The long-baller has followed the same scoring routine as Stenson and has the type of game that could easily put some stress on Kaymer on Sunday.

Rickie Fowler

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Fowler has been fiddling with his swing of late with mixed results.

    He tied for fifth at this year’s Masters but has also missed the cut in seven events. 

    So it is a bit of a surprise to find him in second place going into Sunday.

    Fowler wore knickers on the first day in honor of Payne Stewart and then channeled the 1999 Open champion by shooting a three-under 67 on Day 3.

    Even though he hit only six fairways, Fowler was able to set himself up for game-saving putts, carding five birdies on a day in which they were very hard to come by.  

    Finally, it was his great putting that was most surprising as he needed only 24 putts during his exemplary round.