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Anthony Kim kept his focus, and his calm, during a trying third round at the 137th Open Championship. (Photo: Getty Images)

Kim stays calm, in contention, despite trying circumstances

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The Anthony Kim of old most surely would have suffered a meltdown. But the new, mature Anthony Kim was able to keep his composure -- and his game -- intact Saturday when things didn't go entirely his way.

By Melanie Hauser, Correspondent

SOUTHPORT, England -- He wouldn't have been able to handle this a year ago.

The wind. The wild swings. The patience you need to stay focused and not lose it in the relentless gusts. The focus, period, on your shots.

Anthony Kim shook his head and laughed.

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"I would have lost my mind out there," he said.

But a year of maturing and a little advice from former Open champ Todd Hamilton had Kim rocketing up the leaderboard at the 137th Open Championship Saturday afternoon.

"He told me, 'Keep your head down. You never know what will happen,'" Kim said.

Hamilton was spot on.

In addition to the same relentless wind-blown body-slams that buffeted the entire field, Kim endured an official-mandated delay when the wind kept moving his ball on the 10th green. It oscillated on a few others. His turned his cap backward so the wind wouldn't gather under the bill and whip it off again. He eagled the 17th to put himself into contention with 18 to go.

When the walked off the course, Kim's cap was on tight, but his head was still spinning.

He was tied for 12th, with a bullet. Everyone else was falling back. An hour later, he had moved up 22 spots and was four off the lead and tied for fifth.

"This is awesome. I like this," said Kim, a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR this year. "I grew up playing where conditions weren't the best. And your lies weren't the greatest. I'm having a blast out here."

No pun intended.

The biggest blast came at the 10th. After hitting a 2-iron off the tee, Kim had 172 to the green. He "flushed" a 3-iron and it went all of 148 yards.

Before he could putt, his ball had blown "7 or 8 feet," Kim said.

"I marked it and put it back down, so I couldn't replace it and had to play it from where it lied," he said. "I marked it and as I was reading it, it blew about foot back. I kept waiting and it blew another foot back. I called a rules official and he said when it stops, mark it and I'll call a rover over. I marked it and put the ball behind the coin so I could show the rules official and it rolled five or six yards off the green.

"So I want to say it rolled 15 yards total. And so there was no reason to put it down. I was getting farther and farther away. The course is tough enough as it is, so we just waited and waited and fortunately the ball stopped."

It was so bad, Kim said, the official couldn't hear through his earpiece. So, he tried his cell phone.

Ross Fisher, his playing partner, was on a hill 15 feet away. Kim said his ball would have rolled 30 yards, so it was pointless to put the balls down.

He estimated it took about a half an hour and Kim parred the hole.

"It was just a big disaster," Kim said.

On the next green, his ball was oscillating, so he didn't ground his putter.

"Everyone's going through the same things," he said. "I had to not think about what was happening out there. If the ball wants to blow off the green, it's going to blow off the green."

Kim, circa 2007, couldn't have handled the brutal conditions. Kim 2008 is in contention for his first major.

"I feel like I'm playing really well," he said. "The putts aren't falling, but that putt fell on 17 and I'm going to try to build off that."

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