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U.S. Open Notebook: Duval trying to finish

Associated Press
The U.S. Open notebook …
FARMINGDALE ó David Duval wasn’t sure how to hit his final approach shot Saturday in the U.S. Open, an easy 7-iron made difficult by a clump of mud the size of a quarter on the top of his golf ball in the 18th fairway.
“I just decided to hit as pure as I could and see where it ended up,” Duval said.
That’s all he has been trying to do the last several years as he tries to pull himself out of a mysterious slump that has left him without a victory since the end of the 2001 season, and will leave him without a full PGA Tour card unless he turns it around this year.
He was at 3-under 137, tied for fourth among those who completed 36 holes Saturday morning, five shots behind Ricky Barnes.
The trick now is to finish it off.
Duval was only three shots out of the lead after 36 holes at Royal Birkdale last summer in the British Open until a vicious wind turned little mistakes into big ones, and he ballooned to an 83.
MICKELSONPhil Mickelson gave his adoring fans a shot to remember Saturday in the U.S. Open ó a remarkable hybrid that none of the Bethpage Black regulars would even think to try, let alone have the club to play it.
From 164 yards in rough left of the 15th fairway, he opened the face of the hybrid as if playing a wedge and launched a high shot ó the crowd cheering as the ball took flight, trying to help it to the elevated green ó that stopped 25 feet from the hole.
“This is a special club I actually made, taking the back part of the hybrid out so that I can open it way up and get through that thick rough,” Mickelson said.
He was 1 under ó seven strokes behind leader Ricky Barnes ó after rounds of 69 and 70 and a nifty par save on the first hole in third round before rain stopped play.
TODAY’S OUTLOOK
The U.S. Open might still crown a champion today, even though rain has prevented any of the first three rounds at Bethpage Black being completed on schedule.
Even though the forecast called for heavy rain and possible thunderstorms Saturday, the second round was completed, the cut line established and the third round got under way at 5:30 p.m. A brief, heavy shower and the onset of darkness forced the third round to be suspended at 7:10 p.m. Eight groups, including the leaders, did not tee off.
But Mike Davis, the USGA’s senior director of rules and competition, said Saturday night there was a chance to get the 72 holes in on time.
“We were unbelievably lucky today,” he said.

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