Born in Natick, Mass., about an hour's drive from the Orchards Golf Club, Mallon shot a 4-under 67 on Saturday -- the best round of the day -- to pull within three strokes of leader Jennifer Rosales.
'They're fantastic,' Mallon said. 'They know I'm a Celtics and Red Sox fan.'
Former Celtics coach K.C Jones, a friend of Mallon's, greeted her off the No. 18 green after her round Saturday.
Mallon won the Open in 1991 and has finished in the top 10 five other times in her 18-year career. She opened with a 2-over 73 on Thursday then scrambled back to even to begin Saturday's round.
'I just kept saying this is a U.S. Open and bogey is not going to hurt you,' she said. 'And you don't win it on the first day.'
EMOTIONS IN CHECK
Pat Hurst was 1 under for the tournament when her tee shot landed 15 feet below the cup on the par-3 10th. But the pin was cut close to a ridge, and the ball slowly trickled off the green.
What followed were replays from Shinnecock.
Her first chip with a sand wedge went up the hill, then rolled to her feet. Her next chip did the same, and Hurst stood there with hands on hip, clearly disgusted.
'I said a few choice words to our USGA official, but she knew it wasn't personal,' Hurst said.
Hurst replaced the club with a pitching wedge, hit a low chip up the hill and it barely stayed on the top shelf. She made a 10-footer for double bogey, but rallied three birdies and shot 71.
She played with Michelle Wie, shot the same score and will play with the teen on Sunday.
Michelle Wie's round of even par was the low amateur round of the day. The 14-year-old also is the youngest of the four teenage amateurs playing in the Open this weekend.
Paula Creamer, 17, shot a 72. Jennie Lee, 17, had a 75 and Brittany Lincicome, 18, the first-round leader, continued to struggle and finished with a 5-over 76.
Creamer, paired with Kelly Robbins, admitted to nerves in the opening few holes. Robbins, who is three strokes off the lead, had the hot hand early and was 4 under at the turn. That helped, Creamer said.
'I learned a lot things from Kelly. She's very good,' Creamer said. 'It was just getting used to all of the people out there.'
Patricia Meunier-LeBouc, one stroke off the lead on Thursday, hasn't flirted with the lead since, shooting 7 over the next two days. Still, the Frenchwoman liked her vantage point on Saturday from after being paired with Mallon, a good friend and the owner of the day's low round.
'I kind of just enjoyed watching her play and then I relaxed and said `OK, it's not my day,' Meunier-LeBouc said.
After that Meunier-LeBouc birdied two of her last three holes.
'That's the way golf is,' she said. 'If you try to hard, you're not making it. This is the U.S. Open. Your brain is going crazy sometimes, but you just have to let it go.'
Kate Golden is amazed at the newest crop of golfers, who made up the youngest U.S. Open field in history. This year's open drew a record 16 teenagers
Golden, the 37-year-old tour veteran, turned pro after graduating from Texas in 1989 and didn't get her first LPGA Tour until 2001 when she held off Annika Sorenstam with a career-low 63 to win the State Farm Classic.
'When I was 18 I never thought I was that good,' she said. 'I didn't have that mentality that I was a world beater like they do now and I don't know where they get it, but they've got it.
'And they're doing it.'
But the times are changing, Golden said.
'It's just different now. There are definitely some amateurs that could turn pro and make a living out here.'
With four birdies in the first nine holes, Kelly Robbins had the low front nine (32) ... The difficult 16th hole yielded nine birdies Saturday after giving up just four the previous two rounds ... Juli Inkster's round of 77 matched her high round for the year; her highest round in the Open was an 86 in 1985. ... Defending champion Hilary Lunke shot an 81 in the third round. She has not made a birdie in her last 32 holes.
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