Mallinger maintains two-shot lead over Swede Jonas Blixt

AFP, SAN JOSE, California

Mon, Oct 15, 2012 - Page 18

John Mallinger of the US, winless in seven years on the USPGA Tour, fired a one-under 70 on Saturday to maintain the lead after the third round of the US$5 million Open.

The 33-year-old had a 15-under 198 total at the CordeValle golf course. He equaled the course record 62 in the second round after opening with a 66 on Thursday.

“It was a little scrappy,” said Mallinger, who had a two-shot lead. “I didn’t have my best off the tee, but I started hitting some good shots coming in. I hit a lot of good putts that just didn’t fall. Hopefully, I can straighten out the drive and make some putts tomorrow.”

Mallinger has finished second twice, including losing in a playoff to Bo Van Pelt three years ago in Milwaukee.

Sweden’s Jonas Blixt was second after a 66, while Charles Howell and Jason Kokrak of the US were another stroke back at 12-under. Howell shot a 66 and Kokrak fired a 67.

Fiji’s Vijay Singh and Brazil’s Alexandre Rocha were 11-under after both shot 66.

The 28-year-old Blixt birdied five of the last eight holes. He was even-par on the front nine with a birdie and a bogey. He shot up the leaderboard with birdies at 11 and 13, and then rolled in a birdie on 15 to get to 11-under.

Blixt birdied the 17th and followed with a six-foot birdie putt at 18 to finish two back. He was third the previous week in Las Vegas.

“The front nine is a little harder. The back nine you can make a couple [of] birdies,” Blixt said. “Hopefully, I can finish like I did today.”

Greg Owen (68), Scott Dunlap (70), Jhonattan Vegas (71), Danny Lee (67) and Russell Knox (65) shared seventh at 10-under 203.