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Denny McCarthy predicts Saturday afternoon ‘fight’ for those off their games

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BROOKLINE, Mass. – Denny McCarthy went out in the third twosome and shot 2-under 68 Saturday at The Country Club, which earned him a trip to the interview tent to provide a quick scouting report for the 122nd U.S. Open’s third round.

The final pairing was still about 45 minutes from teeing off when McCarthy, sitting at 1 over and just outside the top 20, stepped up to the microphone.

“I like playing in hard conditions,” he said, “so it was a great day for that type of opportunity for me to come out and shoot a decent number and watch the guys in the afternoon have to play this place.”

Full-field scores from U.S. Open

So, what exactly will the leaders face as they try to position themselves for Sunday’s finish?

For starters: Firmer greens, cooler temperatures and stiffer winds, which combined with TCC’s many blind shots should inflate the scoring average, which was 72.8 and 72 the first two rounds, respectively. But McCarthy got more detailed about the test, specifically two of the tougher holes on the golf course.

On the par-4 10th hole, which is playing into the fan and where McCarthy made one of his two bogeys on the day: “No. 10 was a par 5 today. It says par 4, but it's a total par 5. I was almost thinking I couldn't even clear [the mound]. They didn't move the tee up that much, and 275 covered the cliff straight into a 25-mile-an-hour cold wind, so I don't usually have that in my bag, so I was looking a little more left. That was a really hard hole today.”

On the par-4 13th hole, where he made what should be a rare birdie: “That might be a skin. Honestly, I hit a perfect smoke draw 3-wood and then a flighted 6-iron to 13 feet and made it. I felt like that was an eagle really. … Today we at least got the wind more in. The last couple of days it was off the left. You almost needed hit a stupid shot to hold the 13th fairway, honestly, just because the wind was just humming off the left, and you really needed to kind of turn it against it. You can't hit a cut and hit into the 13th fairway.”

McCarthy didn’t plan on being glued to the coverage on Saturday afternoon. Instead, he planned to rest and possibly catch a Red Sox game in the evening. Still, he figured he could be just a handful of shots back when he tees off Sunday.

“I could see someone shooting maybe under par, but also maybe struggling and shooting a couple over,” he said. “It's one of those places where if you are hitting fairways, you can shoot a decent score, and if you're not, it's going to be a fight.”