June 17, 2006

Mickelson, Ferrie tied for lead at US Open

By Larry Fine

MAMARONECK, New York (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson made a pair
of birdies during a charging finish on the back nine at stingy
Winged Foot to tie Briton Kenneth Ferrie for the lead after
three rounds of the U.S. Open.

While other contenders struggled to match par, birdies at
the 14th and 16th holes enabled Masters champion Mickelson to
post a one-under-par 69 for a two-over 212 total.

Ferrie, a 27-year-old Englishman, played an admirably
steady round as he protected a one-shot lead he took on the
strength of a tap-in eagle at the 515-yard, par-five fifth.

A bogey at the last, where Ferrie's five-foot par putt
failed to fall, dropped the Briton back to two over par for the
tournament and 71 for the day.

Australian Geoff Ogilvy shot a two-over-par 72 to stand one
stroke off the pace at 213, two shots better than Britons Colin
Montgomerie (75) and Ian Poulter (70), Vijay Singh of Fiji (70)
and American Steve Stricker (76), the overnight leader.

Mickelson, gunning for his third consecutive major title
following his victories in the PGA Championship and the
Masters, will be paired with Ferrie, playing in his first major
in the United States.

"This is my first time in this position in a major
championship," said Ferrie. "And it's going to be a little
daunting going into tomorrow."

Mickelson said he was looking forward to the final round.

"It's a lot of fun to have a chance," he said. "I have a
lot of work left to do."

Mickelson said he was not that familiar with Ferrie, but
expected a good battle.

"He's in the final group of the U.S. Open so he's got to be
a good player," said world number two Mickelson.