After shooting an even-par 70 on Saturday in a grueling round, Steve Stricker will try to become the oldest U.S. Open winner in history and the oldest first-time winner of a major tournament when he starts the final round of the U.S. Open on Sunday at even par, one shot behind leader Phil Mickelson.
Stricker, 46, will try to break Hale Irwin’s record. Irwin won the 1990 U.S. Open at Medinah when he was 45. He started the day at even par, made eight straight pars before double-bogeying the par-3 ninth hole after he found water. It was made more frustrating because he had just missed a birdie putt on the previous hole.
As he always does, though, Stricker clawed back, promptly making birdies on the 10th and 12th holes and making impressive par saves on the back nine.
On the 18th hole, Stricker made a lengthy par putt to keep him at even par for the tournament and showed some rare emotion.
Stricker is one of the best putters on the tour, and that may make all the difference tomorrow as Merion’s greens have confused the world’s best all week.
He is tied for second with American Hunter Mahan and South African Charl Schwartzel.