Update 1:50 p.m.: Woods hangs onto 1-shot lead after 12 holes in U.S. Open playoff
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Rocco Mediate made up two strokes in two holes and closed within a shot of an erratic Tiger Woods with six holes left in their 18-hole playoff Monday at the U.S. Open.
Trailing by three heading into the 11th hole, Mediate made two straight pars, while Woods bogeyed both holes. Heading to No. 13, Mediate was 3-over par, one shot behind Woods, who is seeking his 14th career major -- but the first he'd have to play a full extra day to win.
Mediate is the ultimate underdog, ranked 158th in the world and trying, at age 45, to become the oldest man to win a U.S. Open. Though he fell behind by three through 10 holes, this comeback proved that he would not go down easily.
And Woods was not dominating the way many thought he might.
On No. 12, the toughest hole on the course this week, he teed off into a bunker and followed with a bad shot into the right rough, tossing his club out of the sand in disgust. His chip was pedestrian and he needed a four-foot putt to save bogey and hang onto the lead.
Woods had his moments, though, no better than when he made a 20-foot putt on the fringe on No. 10 to save par and push his lead to three. He also hit great approach shots to set up a five-foot birdie putt on No. 6 and a 10-footer on No. 7.
Mediate played the three par-3s -- Nos. 3, 8 and 11 -- four shots better than Woods, with a birdie and two pars compared with four bogeys for the world's best player.
Mediate's best shot came on the third, where his tee shot almost grazed the cup, stopping 18 inches away for a tap-in birdie. Woods made bogey on the hole and Mediate took a one-stroke lead.
But after they both made pars on No. 4, Woods pulled back into a tie on No. 5 when Mediate teed off into the sand and hit his approach off the cart path twice and far to the left of the green. The gallery crowded around the ball in the tamped-down rough.
As Mediate approached, a marshal warned fans, "As soon as he pulls a club, we need total quiet." Mediate pulled his club, went to survey the shot, then cracked, "Or you can talk."
It's that kind of interplay that makes him a fan favorite, and early in the day he was hearing a lot more shouts of encouragement than Woods.
Both players came to the course wearing red -- that's Tiger's traditional Sunday color -- and Woods noticed Mediate's apparel choice on the range. "Nice shirt," he said.
Woods opened the day by hitting a shot that got a good bounce and landed in the fairway on No. 1, the first time he'd hit the short stuff on that hole this week. He made three double-bogeys there in four days, and when the ball landed safely, he raised his hands in mock celebration, knowing he'd taken the 6 out of play. He made par and took an early one-stroke lead after Mediate failed to get up and down and settled for bogey.
Woods is going for his third U.S. Open championship and first since 2002. He is 13-0 in majors when he's held at least a share of the 54-hole lead and led by one at that point this year, but he needed a 12-foot birdie putt Sunday on No. 18 to force the playoff with Mediate.
It means his left knee, surgically repaired two months ago, will have to endure 90 holes of walking instead of just 72. Woods, who had originally been scheduled to be in Mexico on Monday for a course-design project, said the pain was worth it. He was showing no signs of a limp as he headed into the last six holes.
Mediate, meanwhile, looked at this as the chance of a lifetime. He has won only five career tournaments, never a major.
"To go up against the best player in the world and have a chance to beat him, there's nothing more you would ask for as a professional golfer, period," he said after Sunday's round.