By Rachel Finkbeiner, Staff intern
Course conditions at the U.S. Open posed problems for many golfers Saturday and Clayton Rask was no exception.
“It was definitely night and day from the first two days. We had the wind change on us. It just kept changing the dynamic of the golf course,” said Rask, the Otsego native who qualified this year for the first time.
Rask finished round three with a 77, putting him at 11-above with 73-71-77- 221, in the 114th Open, at Pinehurst, N.C. He is tied for 57th place among the 66 players who survived the cut. Currently only six players remain under par.
In a soft course and windy conditions, the 29-year-old former Elk and Gopher started the course on a positive note with a few pars and only one bogey. An eagle on No. 5 would get Rask’s adrenaline going.
“I got a really good drive down right center, 216 yards on the flag and we had just a little bit of wind helping us. We were talking about how excited I was and how we had to factor in adrenaline and everything, and I ended up getting it. “
After the excitement No. 6 would end in a double bogey. Rask landed a birdie on No. 10 but the bogey trend would continue throughout the rest of the day.
“I had 4 or 5 par putys today that were pretty hard. It was one of those fraction days,” said Rask.
Rask did finish the day on a par. It should have been a birdie, he said, but “it was nice to stop the bleeding, per say, a little bit, with the par.”
His spirits are not down in the least bit. His goal Sunday is to shoot a 300 tournament and see where it gets him.
“I have some work to do tomorrow on the leader board. If the course stays like it is, and is any firmer, an even par around could get you a long ways tomorrow.”
Like any first-timer Rask is just enjoying his time in his now first-ever Sunday PGA event.
“I’m going to take it all in and continue to have fun. Learn from watching the people I play with, and see if I can improve from here,” he said.
Martin Kaymer of Germany still leads with a score of 8-below. Rask has seen him play, but has yet to chat it up with the leader. He adds that he’s heard only positive things about him.
Phil Mickelson finished the day 13 shots out of the lead and will not be a title contender. The U.S. Open is the only major holding him from a career grand slam.
The only players close to Kaymer are American’s Erik Compton and Rickie Fowler who sit at three below.
The final day of the Open is on Sunday. Rask tees off at 10:27 a.m. Eastern with German Alex Cejka.
Rask has played in various pro tours, currently the Canadian Tour. He has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open each year since college and finally succeeded this year at a qualifier in Eugene, Ore., where he placed second.