Oakmont:Jeev Milkha Singh rode a solid back nine to card three-over 73 and jump to tied 35th place after the penultimate round of the 107th US Open.
The Indian, in fact, was within half a roll of a final hole par that would have seen him another five places up on the leaderboard, which is headed by Australian Aaron Baddeley (70) at two-over.
Baddeley is followed by Tiger Woods (69) who displayed brilliant ball striking, finding 17 of the 18 fairways as he moved to four-over and into the leader-group for the final day.
Jeev's three-day total at the Oakmont Golf and Country Club stands at 13-over 223 and he is ahead of the likes of defending champion Geoff Ogilvy (40th at 14-over), Masters champion Zach Johnson (50th at 16-over) and also Major winners, Michael Campbell (45th at 13-over) and Jose Maria Olazabal (50th at 16 over).
Jeev was joined at the 35th place by Ernie Els (74) and Fred Funk (74). In the final round, Jeev plays with John Rollins (74).
Jeev bogeyed the third, fifth, seventh, eighth, 16th and 18th holes but birdies on the 10th, 12th and 17th holes saw him strike back in the second stretch.
Not a good start
Jeev did not have a great start to his third round and the cruel Oakmont Golf course threatened to swallow the Indian who groped for that elusive birdie and managed only to drop four bogeys in his front nine.
But it turned out to be a different Jeev on the back nine.
He birdied the 10th and 12th and was suddenly looking good in a field that was dropping shots all over. Then came a bogey on the par-three 16th, where his tee shot landed just below the shelf of the large green. It took him three putts and that bogey set him back.
Incidentally, this was the third successive time Jeev had bogeyed the hole.
But he quickly made up by knocking in a third successive birdie on the short par-four 17th, which played to 313 yards on Saturday.
Unfortunately on the 18th, his finely stroked putt stopped half a roll short of the cup and disappointment was writ large on Jeev's face as he tapped it in for a bogey that saw him end at 13-over.
Still it was a good improvement from his tied 51st place at the halfway stage and Jeev looked set to improve on his 37th place finish at Masters in April.
Jeev admitted things could have been better without that final hole bogey but still was happy with his best round of the tournament so far.
"That last bogey was a big disappointment. I thought I had it, but it stopped short. Each stroke is so valuable on a course like this," said Jeev.
"But I am happy that I played positively on the back nine with three birdies, as against one in first and two in second."