Lowry moves clear at U.S. Open as Johnson drops back


It was a topsy-turvy day at the U.S. Open but Shane Lowry was the most consistent of all as he surged into a two-stroke lead in the third round.

With ninth spot at last year's U.S. Open and the 2014 Open his best returns at a major, Lowry is the man to beat at five under through 14 holes in Pennsylvania.

On a day that saw Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson miss the cut, Oakmont Country Club reared its nasty head on Saturday, with the notoriously tricky course living up to its reputation, with Dustin Johnson struggling to maintain his lead at the weather-affected tournament.

Johnson was the 36-hole leader as round two eventually ended with the maiden major title hopeful one clear heading into the third as tournament officials played catch-up following the abandonment of Thursday's play.

But Lowry, who closed the second round in a share for third at two under, eventually overhauled Johnson before bad light suspended play, with the Irishman three under with four holes remaining.

U.S. Open rookie Andrew Landry is through 13 holes and two shots behind Lowry.

Landry spent time atop the leaderboard alongside Lowry and the previously unheralded American continues to loom, despite being four over through nine second-round holes earlier in the day.

Johnson is in an all-too familiar position with five holes still to play in his third round, but the 31-year-old is lurking at two under.

No stranger to near misses, boasting 11 top-10 finishes after his heartbreaking runner-up placing to Jordan Spieth last year having three-putted the final hole at Chambers Bay, Johnson experienced it all on Saturday.

A double-bogey at the par-four third hole saw overnight leader Johnson - who had only carded one bogey for the entire tournament up until that point - drop into a three-way tie for the lead, only to bounce back immediately with a birdie next up but his attempted par save at the sixth was unsuccessful as his hiccup handed the ascendency to Lowry.

While he bogeyed the 10th, Johnson steadied with three consecutive pars to close out the day in a solid position.

Former world number one Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia are also three strokes behind Lowry.

Riding the wave of his runner-up finish at April's Masters, Westwood had earned a share of the lead by making eagle at the fifth hole - his second hole-out in Pennsylvania - before eventually dropping into a tie for third through 15.

Garcia - also seeking his first major title along with Westwood and Co - had back-to-back birdies sandwiched in between bogeys on the front nine.

World number one Jason Day jumped back into contention after completing his almost flawless third round.

After opening the tournament with a disappointing 76, Day moved to within six shots of the lead thanks to a stunning bogey-free back nine, which yielded four birdies, three of those in succession for a four-under-par 66.

The Australian star also eagled the par-five fourth as he ended the day three shots better off than defending champion Jordan Spieth, who had his third successive round in the 70s - an even-par 70.