Mahan quietly in contention after 68 in Round 3


GULLANE, Scotland – A month ago at the U.S. Open, Hunter Mahan teed off in the final group on Sunday. He didn’t finish like he would have liked, posting a closing 75 to finish tied for fourth, but on Sunday at Muirfield he will get another chance at major glory.

Mahan birdied two of his last four holes for a third-round 68 to take the clubhouse lead at 1 under and secure himself another late tee time on a major Sunday. Suddenly his Merion moment seems more like a learning experience than a missed opportunity.

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“It can be overwhelming at times being in the last group,” said Mahan, who has one top-10 in eight Open starts (2007). “You have to believe before you can win. I think you actually have to see it happening.”

One of the game’s top ballstrikers – he has hit 35 of 54 greens in regulation and 29 of 42 fairways through three rounds at Muirfield – Mahan is also vying for his first victory of 2013.