Rafa Cabrera Bello
Rafa Cabrera Bello lines up a putt on the second green during the third round of the US Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Image Credit: Reuters
  • Round 3
  • Saturday 18th June – Torrey Pines Golf Club, South Course, San Diego, California

On what is commonly known as ‘moving day,’ Saturday, at this year’s US Open proved to be a move in the wrong direction for Rafa. After shooting a 74, he sits mid-table with eight other players (including fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia), in 45th place at +5 for the tournament,

Canadian Mackenzie Hughes, Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and American Russell Henley lead the way after day three at Torrey Pines at -5 and twenty players sit within five shots, including the likes of world number one Dustin Johnson, Rory Mcllroy and Jon Rahm. For Rafa, lying 10 strokes off the pace is unlikely to result in lifting the trophy later today.

As mentioned in yesterday’s report, the need to find the narrow fairways on this course is critical, with punishing rough waiting to swallow your ball and hamper your approach play. Rafa had only 21% success in this department during his third round. Compare that to 68% and 50% of fairways hit for his first two outings respectively and surely, therein lies the reason for his current position on the leaderboard. Not to mention, a dearth of birdies and bogeys on the 7th, 10th and 15th.

Rafa’s playing partner yesterday was six-time major winner Phil Mickleson, oldest ever major winner at 50 and San Diego native who was raised playing golf on Torrey Pines. Guess which group the crowds followed? This may have been distracting, however I suppose one has to believe that professionals at this level can ‘zone’ out and focus on their own game.

Looking forward to today’s climax at the 121st US Open, anything could happen. Such is golf and top level sport. Whatever the result, Rafa will be competing fiercely to improve his world ranking, whilst also staking his claim with European Ryder Cup captain, Padraig Harrington, for a place in his team later this year.

Here’s hoping Rafa can sign off on the South Course with a repeat of the fantastic 64 he shot when qualifying for this tournament. Now that would be worth a few more dollars!