Brisk Saturdays at majors seem to be a trend this year. The third round of the 122nd U.S. Open was no different. The conditions were challenging with high winds and the pressure of playing weekend golf in a major championship.
The four amateurs that made the cut are no longer competing with the entire field but instead with each other to win low amateur honors. After three rounds, seven shots separate the Travis Vick and Stewart Hagestad.
Hagestad, who earned an exemption into the U.S. Open by virtue of winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur last September on Nantucket, was the first to tee off in the morning. He honored the Bay State by wearing logos from Massachusetts clubs Myopia and Kittansett.
He carded a 79 in a round that was highlighted by a birdie on the first hole when he rolled home a 10-foot putt. He also birdied the par-four fifth, dropping a 16-foot putt. A string of bogeys in the middle stretch of his round put Hagestad at the bottom of the amateur leaderboard.
Sam Bennett showed some grit during the third round in his first major appearance. He played the first five holes in three-over par, but he continued to battle and played the final 13 holes in one over, an impressive feat given the scores that were shot today. Bennett’s lone birdie came on the 15th hole after hitting his 144-yard approach to 25 feet and making the putt.
Austin Greaser has a Masters appearance under his belt, but this was his first round during the weekend of a major. The nerves might have had an impact on his start. A pulled tee shot on the first hole led to a bogey. He also bogeyed the third and then made a six on the par four fifth.
The rest of Greaser’s round was marked by solid play and a few close calls for birdie. He followed a birdie on the 14th hole with a double bogey on the 15th after hitting his approach in a greenside bunker.
Greaser’s twin brother Byron is on the bag this week. It’s been a team effort to make life easy on the younger twin. Byron has a heart condition that actually caused him to pass out during the U.S Amateur last August at Oakmont due to the heat.
This week, the TaylorMade staff bag Greaser was given has stayed in the locker room to lighten the load for Byron. During the first two rounds, Byron carried a University of North Carolina bag and this weekend, Greaser has a TaylorMade stand bag.
Additionally, family friend, Ryan Gillen, carried Greaser’s bag during the practice rounds to limit Byron’s exertion before the tournament began.
The last amateur to tee off on Saturday was Travis Vick. He had a very solid start, just missing a birdie putt on the first and recording a steady par on the beastly second hole.
However, two holes left Vick and his caddie, Adam Porzak, shaking their heads.
Vick arrived at the par-five eighth tee even par for the championship; his second shot reached the back of the green. From there he took seven shots to finish the hole, succumbing to the brutal false front that sent his third shot careening back down the fairway.
“We ended up in a divot,” Porzak said after the round. “And then we ended up in a divot again. It was filled in, but the ball was sitting in the seam.”
A touch of bad luck that dropped Vick to four-over par in the blink of an eye.
On the fifteenth hole, Vick hit his tee shot to the right of the fairway and needed to take an unplayable, which led to a double bogey.
As Porzak processed the round with Vick’s family outside the clubhouse, they lamented the bad luck of two holes but also exhibited the gumption that belies a competitor.
“I’m not worried about low am,” Porzak said as he picked up the bag. “I want a top sixteen, so we can get back next year.”
Right now, Vick is four shots outside of that magical number and also sitting atop the amateur leaderboard.
AMATEUR LEADERBOARD, ROUND 3
70-69-76=215 Travis Vick
70-73-74=217 Sam Bennett
72-70-76=218 Austin Greaser
73-70-79=222 Stewart Hagestad
77-69=146 Michael Thorbjornsson
75-72=147 Maxwell Moldovan
72-75=147 Adrien Dumont de Chassart
73-75=148 Keita Nakajima
75-74=149 William Mouw
75-76=151 Laird Shepherd
76-75=151 Charlie Reiter
78-74=152 Nick Dunlap
79-73=152 Fred Biondi
77-76=153 Ben Lorenz
83-74=157 Caleb Manuel
ABOUT THE U.S. Open
The U.S. Open is the biggest of the 14 national
championships conducted by the USGA.
to amateurs and professionals.
The USGA intends to make the U.S. Open
most rigorous, yet fair, examination of golf
skills, testing all forms of shot-making. The
USGA prepares the course after careful
consideration of 14 different factors.
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