The 13th hole at Pinehurst No. 2 proved to be unlucky for Tony Finau in the third round of the U.S. Open Saturday afternoon, and quite likely took the Utahn out of contention for a chance to win his first major golf championship.

After his tee shot on the 368-yard par-4 found the middle of the fairway, Finau needed six more shots to get the ball in the hole and tumbled down the leaderboard, dropping from a tie for fourth place to eighth place.

Pinehurst’s diabolical, turtleback greens were the 34-year-old’s undoing, as he was a foot or two away from putting for birdie but instead saw his approach spin off the green.

More disastrous shots rolled on and off the green before he tapped in for the triple bogey.

Finau recovered nicely with pars on his next five holes, but the damage was done. He sits at 1-under for the tournament and is six shots behind leader Bryson DeChambeau heading into Sunday’s final round.

“Obviously 13 is going to jump out at me as a hole that was the toughest pin of the whole championship in my opinion,” Finau said. “That green is pretty crazy right there where that pin is. Just the wrong time to miss a shot.”

Finau said he didn’t have a good lie for his third shot, which is why he elected to putt the ball rather than chip it as Rory McIlroy did from a similar location.

“Ended up playing ping pong there,” Finau said. “Outside of that, I was happy with the way I hung in there coming in. I could have easily folded.”

Meanwhile, fellow Utahn Zac Blair could never get it going Saturday and went from a tie for ninth place to a tie for 25th with a 5-over 75. The former Fremont High and BYU standout is at 4-over 214.

Finau’s best finish at a U.S. Open came in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills when he finished alone in fifth place, so bettering that is a reasonable goal for Sunday.

Blair’s best finish at a U.S. Open came 10 years ago at this same Pinehurst layout, as he finished T40.

For most of Saturday, Finau was in the top five and looking like a possibility to play with either DeChambeau or third-round playing partner McIlroy in Sunday’s final twosome.

“He is as dialed in with his ball-striking as I’ve ever seen him,” said NBC golf analyst Brandel Chamblee after Finau played the front nine in 2-under 33 with birdies on holes 2, 5 and 9 and a bogey on the par-3 6th.

Finau was in a four-way tie for first place at 5-under around 3:45 p.m. MDT, but a bogey on 12 dropped him into fifth place, then 13 happened.

He battled back to a tie for seventh, recovering well on No. 18 when his tee shot flew into the native area right of the fairway. He got up and down for par, a par that could give him a little momentum in the fourth round.

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“Anything can happen on this golf course,” Finau said when asked if he still has a chance to win. “I’m just happy with the way I finished. … Going to need a good one tomorrow.”

Finau hit fairways routinely in the first two rounds and was tied for second in fairways hit heading into the weekend, but he missed five on Saturday and hit just 9 of 18 greens in regulation.

“I am still very much in it with a good round,” he said.

Blair failed to make a birdie in the third round despite hitting 12 of 14 fairways. His undoing was mid-iron play, as he hit only seven of 18 greens in regulation.

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