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U.S. Open notebook: '81 participant not surprised by high scores

| Saturday, June 15, 2013, 11:15 p.m.

ARDMORE — Low scores never materialized at supposedly vulnerable Merion, and that didn't surprise Mark O'Meara.

Nor would it shock the former Masters and British Open champion if the winning score is over par.

O'Meara, in fact, said if he were in the field, he would take his chances with 2-over-par for the championship.

“You'd take it right now and sit in the clubhouse and wait and see,” O'Meara said Saturday afternoon, shortly after the third round had started. “They've only gone one direction the other way and it's only going to get tougher with the pressure.”

O'Meara played in the Open the last time it was staged at Merion (1981). He missed the cut, and David Graham won the Open with a score of 7-under par. There were, however, just four other players who broke par that year.

Scores improved Saturday, at least among the leaders, but the pin placements don't figure to be nearly as favorable in the final round.

“There's a lot of trouble lurking on a lot of holes,” O'Meara said. “You can make a big number pretty quickly.”

Four of a kind

Four amateurs made the cut at the Open, the first time that has happened since 2004 at Shinnecock, and one of them is more than holding his own against the professionals.

Michael Kim, who just finished his sophomore year at the University of California, is in 10th place after shooting 1-over par 71 in the third round.

The record for amateurs making the cut is five, and that happened in 1971 at Merion. Saxonburg native Jim Simons led after three rounds before finishing tied for fifth. No amateur has since finished higher than Simons.

O'Meara to play at Fox Chapel

O'Meara said he will play in the Constellation Senior Players Championship, which will be held June 27-30 at Fox Chapel Golf Club.

O'Meara, 56, did not play in the event last year because of a back injury.

He is tied for second on the Champions Tour this season with six top-10 finishes.

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at sbrown@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.

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