Frus­tra­tion is par for course for McIl­roy

Los Angeles Times - - 56 - By Tod Leonard tod. leonard@ ut­sandiego. com

UNIVER­SITY PLACE, Wash. — Rory McIl­roy didn’t sound ex­as­per­ated. More like re­signed to his fate in the U. S. Open.

The world’s top- ranked player shot his best score of the week, an even- par 70, in the third round on Satur­day at Cham­bers Bay, but he hardly sounded con­fi­dent he could go much lower.

Asked if he would be more ag­gres­sive Sun­day, McIl­roy, stand­ing at four over, shrugged and said, “I don’t know. I don’t think I can. I’ve hit it as well as I can. And I’ve given my­self plenty of chances. Just try to do the same thing and try to play the birdie holes bet­ter.”

For the third straight round, McIl­roy made only two birdies. He noted that he failed to birdie the drive­able, par- four 12th hole and the 18th, which was play­ing as a par- five.

McIroy has not adapted to the fes­cue greens. He has needed more than 30 putts in each round, in­clud­ing 31 the past two days.

“It’s been frus­trat­ing when you start to miss a few, and there’s some that you don’t quite know if you’ve made a bad stroke or if it’s bob­bled off line. You start to doubt your­self a lit­tle bit and doubt the greens. … I just haven’t been able to get out of my way to let it go.”

At 26, McIl­roy has four ma­jor cham­pi­onship wins, and, un­like Phil Mick­el­son, one of those came in the U. S. Open in 2011 at Con­gres­sional.

“Came off the green on the last there and said to JP [ Fitzger­ald, his cad­die], ‘ Thank God I’ve got one of these,’ ” McIl­roy said of his 2011 win.

“I’m glad my name is on the tro­phy at least once and I’ll try to make it twice at some point.”

Mick­el­son get­ting worse

One more Open. One more dis­ap­point­ing failed at­tempt for Mick­el­son. He shot his worst score of the tour­na­ment ( 77) to drop to 10 over. When the tour­na­ment is over, the f ive- time ma­jor win­ner will still be search­ing for a U. S. Open vic­tory to com­plete the ca­reer Grand Slam. He is 0 for 25 in the na­tional cham­pi­onship.

Mick­el­son, 45, shot 40 on the front nine and made only two birdies, giv­ing him six for the week. His anal­y­sis of his trou­bles was brief and oddly cheery.

“As bad as my score was I hit a lot of good shots that ended up as bo­geys,” he said. “And through three rounds I haven’t made a dou­ble.”

He is cor­rect. He has made only bo­geys – 17 of them.

Stel­lar score

South African Louis

Oosthuizen, the win­ner of the 2010 Bri­tish Open at St. An­drews, fired in five birdies to shoot the best early score of the day, his sec­ond straight four- un­der 66.

Oosthuizen played the f irst two days with Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler, who shot a com­bined 30 over. He opened with a 77 and was nine over through 20 holes, but he fin­ished Satur­day at one un­der and with a chance to make a run in the fi­nal round.

“It’s go­ing to be ex­cit­ing from where I came back from,” Oosthuizen said.

Tough to watch

The U. S. Golf Assn. sold 30,000 tick­ets to each round and be­cause of the dif­fi­cult ter­rain at Cham­bers Bay, it en­cour­aged fans to use the 18,000 grand­stand seats avail­able. Of course, that still leaves many on the course try­ing to work their way through a maze of roads to get a de­cent sight line.

A fam­ily mem­ber of one player told a re­porter that she gave up try­ing to wait for a grand­stand seat be­cause there was a line of dozens of peo­ple.

Among those strug­gling to see this week was Mick­el­son’s wife, Amy, who has been a fre­quent fol­lower of her hus­band at ma­jor tour­na­ments.

“It’s weird. Amy wants to come out and fol­low and she sim­ply can’t,” Mick­el­son said af­ter the first round. “I’ll tell you, the golf spec­ta­tors are prob­a­bly the most ded­i­cated fan. Any other sport you buy a ticket, you sit in a seat and you watch 100% of the ac­tion. In golf, you buy a ticket, you’ve got to walk miles in rough ter­ri­tory and you see but a frac­tion of the event. I give a lot of credit to the peo­ple who are out here.”

Chip- ins

Jamie Love­mark, the for­mer NCAA cham­pion from USC, shot a 75 and fell to two over for 54 holes. ... Ben Martin, who be­gan the day at three un­der, birdied his first hole — and then fell apart. He shot 45 on the front and wound up with an 86, mak­ing a triple bo­gey on No. 18.

Char­lie Riedel As­so­ci­ated Press

AF­TER TWO ROUNDS of 72, Rory McIl­roy shot a 70 on Satur­day at Cham­bers Bay. “You start to doubt your­self a lit­tle bit and doubt the greens,” he said.

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