Charl Schwartzel shot 69 on Saturday at Oakmont Country Club to share 21st place before bad light forced a suspension in play. The 2011 Masters champ was three-over-par after rounds of 76, 68, 69 and eight shots behind leader Shane Lowry.
Branden Grace was on song during the third round and shot 66 to take up sole sixth on one-under-par. He tied for fourth at Chambers Bay last year and has was third at the PGA Championship, so major contention isn’t new territory for him.
The seven-time European Tour winner made four birdies on the stretch to come home in 33 and make the clubhouse with Saturday’s low round. He moved 21 spots up the leaderboard and gave himself an outside chance at victory.
‘It’s great, stayed patient the whole day. Didn’t go out there a helluva lot, but when I had the chances, I took them. It was a bonus finishing the way I did. The last stretch is not the easiest from 15 onwards. Two birdies in the last three is great. I’m in a good position to maybe put my hands on one tomorrow,’ he said.
Lowry, meanwhile, was three-under-par through 14 holes when the hooter sounded to stop play. The Irishman was confident going into Sunday and has a two-shot advantage to work with.
‘I’m very happy with the way I hit the ball. My putter feels good in my hands as well. I’m happy with the way my game is,’ he said.