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Els’ eagle chip-in puts him in contention at Open

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Ernie Els hasn’t won a major championship in 10 years.

But after his chip-in for eagle on No. 17 on Saturday at The Olympic Club, the South African found himself tied for fourth at the U.S. Open, just three shots back at 2-over 212 entering the final round.

“To come back and play the last 12 holes in 5 under is quite amazing, and obviously the shot on 17 is what dreams are made of,” he said.

Els won the 2002 British Open and he’s a two-time U.S. Open champ, winning in 1994 and 1997.

At age 42, this is his 20th U.S. Open.

“I feel that my mental attitude this week has been quite good,” Els said. “I’ve had a couple of train wrecks out there (an 8 on the par-5 16th and double bogey on No. 4) the first day. So hopefully I got those out of the way.

“Experience helps around here. For some reason I’m patient again this week and that’s kind of my virtue in major championship golf … the ability to be patient and wait it out. And I think you’re going to have to do that tomorrow.”

Els missed the cut last year, but finished third in 2010. He failed to qualify for the Masters this year.

He will tee off in the third-to-last group with Blake Adams.

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FIRST-TIME ACE: John Peterson had never made a hole-in-one before.

It was easy to tell Saturday at the U.S. Open.

Peterson’s tee shot on the par-3 13th from 180 yards out landed about 15 feet short of the pin, caught the ridge and trickled in for an ace. He tossed his 7-iron, threw his hands in the air almost fell when he leaped to chest-bump his caddie.

“When it went in, man, I don’t know what I did. I want to watch the replay,” said Peterson, whose third-round 72 left him four shots behind leaders Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell. “I hope y’all have a replay so I can see it again. But I went nuts. I know that. I tried to chest-bump my caddie and I missed.”

Even playing-partner and fellow former LSU standout David Toms high-fived Peterson in exuberance.

“I had my hands up in the air,” Toms said. “I don’t know if he could see it because I was probably in front of him watching his ball, and the crowd was going nuts. And it was pretty cool, I was pretty happy for them.”

The ace will finally give Peterson some family bragging rights.

The first tee shot his mother ever hit, landed in the cup. Luckily for her, she didn’t have to play the treacherous Olympic Course. In fact, she has never played again.

“She hit one shot in her life and it went in,” Peterson said. “And she quit. Smart girl.”

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