DICKY Pride teed off inconspicuously midway through the third round of the 103rd US Open and quietly shot a four-under-par 66 to haul himself into contention.
The 33-year-old Pride, rose steadily throughout the day from a tie for 27th to joint-fifth heading into the final round at Olympia Field Country Club's North Course.
Pride is on four-under 206 for the championship and trails 54-hole leader Jim Furyk by six strokes.
“It's unbelievable considering a year and a half ago I was sitting in the hospital in Florida about to die,” said Pride, who won on the PGA Tour in 1994 and has since jumped between the PGA and Nationwide Tours.
After finishing tied for 25th at the Touchstone Energy Tucson Open in late February 2002, Pride did not play on tour for nearly four months due to an attack of gallstone pancreatitis, a condition that can be fatal.
Pride had to be fed through a tube for two months and had his gall bladder removed.
His only previous Open appearances were in 1992 and 2001 and both times he missed the cut.
This week has been dramatically different.
He opened with a 71 and followed that with a 69, a round that Pride was not entirely pleased with considering he double bogeyed the par-four 16th and bogeyed the par-three 17th.
“Yesterday, I kind of sprayed it a little bit toward the end,” he said.
For the week, Pride has played the opening six holes in six under and enters yesterday, Father's Day, with mixed emotions.
His father, Dick, a former golf coach at the University of Alabama, is suffering from Parkinson's and Pick's disease.
“It's special to play well at the Open,” he said. “In '92, I played my first US Open (as an amateur) and my dad caddied for me.
“Dad's having a few health problems and, hopefully, he's seen me. Hopefully, he'll see me tonight in the interview and know that I'm thanking about him and love him very much.” – Reuters