-- The PGA Tour's 40-and-over set gave some of the game's rising stars a tutorial in playing strategy during Saturday's third round. Veterans such as John Cook, Nick Price and Corey Pavin may not be able to hit the ball as far as their younger counterparts, but they have learned from years of playing U.S. Open venues that course management and patience can far outweigh power and distance.
Cook, 47, shot even-par 70 though he entered the tournament ranked 184th in driving distance. Pavin, who will turn 46 in November, also shot 70. He ranks 189th in driving distance. Price, a three-time major winner, shot 2-over 72 and is 130th in driving distance.
"It's the kind of golf course, you just have to be really patient and try to make as many pars as you possibly can," said Pavin, who is 5 over for the tournament. "If you can give yourself any kind of chance at birdie, it's great, whether it be a 30-footer or a five-footer. Thirty-footers are more plentiful than five-footers."
Pavin's round came one day after he returned from San Diego, where he traveled after his early morning round Thursday to watch his son graduate from high school. He flew to the West Coast via private jet, attended the ceremony, then made it back in time for his 12:37 tee time Friday.
"It was just nice to get some rest last night," he said. "I needed it badly."
Other players in their 40s who shot low rounds included Bernhard Langer (71), Kenny Perry (71) and Davis Love III (70), who turned 40 in April.
"A year ago, I wasn't there" at Shinnecock, said Langer, who has won two Masters titles. "I watched it on TV. But it bordered on the ridiculous. The conditions are better than a year ago. They're not tricking the golf course up. But this golf course doesn't need any tricking up. They're bordering on ridiculous the way they're designed."
Patrons attending Sunday's final round will receive a special pin commemorating 1999 U.S. Open champion Payne Stewart. The pin was first distributed in 2001 for the dedication of the bronze statue of Stewart erected behind the 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2. Approximately 60,000 pins will be available for distribution.
"Payne Stewart represented all that is best about the game, its spirit and its traditions," USGA President Fred Ridley said. "This pin is a wonderful way for all of us to remember his victory and celebrate his life."