McDowell Takes Lead at Golf US Open

Graeme McDowell held a two-shot lead with nine holes left in the U.S. Open on Sunday after Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods each endured nightmare starts.

Looking to become the first European to win the U.S. Open since 1970, McDowell was holding it together, playing the front nine in even-par 35 to stay at 3 under.

Phil Mickelson was among the few also playing steady golf, playing the first 10 holes at even and making the turn at 1 over. That was tied with Ernie Els, who got to 3 under, but made bogey on No. 9, then hit his tee shot on 10 into the ocean and chunked his third shot into the grass on the steep hill leading back to the water. He made double bogey there.

Els and Mickelson were tied with Johnson, who squandered a three-shot lead coming into the day with a triple-bogey on 2, double-bogey on 3 and bogey on 4.

Woods opened with a three-putt bogey, then made another on the par-5 sixth hole — the easiest hole on the course — when he drove his tee shot into the ocean. He then went birdie-bogey on 7 and 8 to fall to seventh place, at 2-over par.

Davis Love III tried to get back in the hunt, attacking the first eight holes and making a birdie and eagle to get to 2 over.

The day yielded the second double-eagle in the history of the U.S. Open, when Shaun Micheel hit a 3-iron from 239 yards into the hole on the par-5 sixth. He joined T.C. Chen in the history books, then promptly went to the 92-yard seventh hole and made double-bogey 5.

The best rounds of the day through the early going belonged to Ben Curtis and Jim Herman, each of whom went out early and shot 3-under 68.

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