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U.S. Open: Winged Foot finally gives up some birdies

Alex Noren of Sweden plays his shot from

Alex Noren of Sweden plays his shot from the second tee during the first round of the 120th U.S. Open Championship on Thursday at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. Credit: Getty Images/Gregory Shamus

MAMARONECK, N.Y. — After chewing up and spitting out the majority of the field in the second round of the U.S. Open on Friday, Winged Foot relented just a bit in Saturday’s third round and gave something back. Sweden’s Alex Noren, who just made the 36-hole cut at 6-over par, was the early bellweather when he posted a 3-under 67 that was the first of seven subpar scores.

"Starting out, I felt like it was going to be the toughest day ever on a golf course with pretty strong winds on the first six or seven holes," Noren said. "Then, it got a little bit easier. The pins are still tricked up, but I putted my life out…Yesterday, I was a very angry man on the golf course, and my goal today was to putt better and be in a happier place."

Despite his third-round result, Noren said Winged Foot is "the hardest course I’ve ever played. Even without the wind, it’s still so demanding."

Casey's tale of two nines

Paul Casey bogeyed five of his first seven holes Saturday and said, "It was just ugly. It was windy this morning. It was cold. Those first (three) holes with the wind straight into your face are just very difficult. I was just trying not to shoot 80 after that front nine."

Casey's birdie on the par-5 9th hole allowed him to turn in 4-over 39. Then he flipped the right switch and strung together four straight birdies from the 11th through the 14th holes and finished with another on the 18th for a 5-under 30 back nine. He finished at 5-over 215 for the tournament and 10 shots off the lead, but Casey was elated.

"I’m glad I finally got one off of Winged Foot," said Casey, who missed the cut at the 2006 U.S. Open here. "It takes it’s pound of flesh every single time you seem to play this golf course, so, I feel like I got an ounce or two of my own flesh back."

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