- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2009

From combined dispatches

Britain’s Ross Fisher lamented a woeful putting display Sunday even though he moved into contention for a maiden major title at the weather-hit U.S. Open.

The 28-year-old Englishman climbed into a tie for third after firing a 1-under 69 in the rain-delayed third round at Bethpage Black, but he totaled 33 putts for the second time this week.

“I just couldn’t hole a thing,” Fisher said Sunday. “I kept hitting it close and just couldn’t get it in the hole. I even went back to yesterday’s mentality of hitting it to 20 and 30 feet, and I still couldn’t hole them.

“So it was a relief to see that one drop at the last,” the Englishman added, referring to his 8-foot birdie putt on the 18th green. “If I had putted half-decent and had 27 or 28 putts, I would be 14 under easily. I have hit the ball that well.”

Fisher, who finished second in the European Tour’s flagship PGA Championship at Wentworth last month, carded just two birdies and one bogey in the third round at Bethpage.

“For a U.S. Open, the greens are pretty good because they are not like lightning quick like they usually are,” he said. “They are soft and receptive.”

Fisher played just one final-round hole before play was halted Sunday night. He bogeyed to drop into a tie for third at 2 under.

Fisher romped to a seven-shot victory at the European Open last year but is making only his sixth appearance in a major.

“It’s still a new experience for me,” he said. “But any time you can put yourself into contention and turn around and look at that leader board and see your name there, you’re doing something right. Hopefully I can keep my name on that leader board and try and climb up it a little bit higher.”

Ten-stroke swing

Nick Taylor went from tying an Open record for an amateur in the second round to having the worst score of the three nonprofessionals who made the cut in the third.

Taylor, a Canadian who was a first-team All-American at Washington last season, shot a 5-under 65 in the second round, matching the lowest round by an amateur in the U.S. Open.

On Sunday, he finished a 5-over 75 that was one stroke behind Drew Weaver and Kyle Stanley, the only other amateurs to make the cut. Taylor entered the final round with a 213 total, two strokes better than Weaver and five ahead of Stanley.

Open fallout

The rain delays had quite a ripple effect.

Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade were to host the CVS Charity Classic, which has raised more than $12 million for New England charities, but found themselves searching for replacements.

The two-day event starts Monday, with Camilo Villegas and Bubba Watson as the defending champions. Both made the cut at the Open and will be at Bethpage Black until they finish. Others who signed up for the charity event and made the Open cut were Todd Hamilton, Retief Goosen and Anthony Kim.

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