“It's very defensive. Just tough to — I mean, every hole you're just trying to make pars,” he said.
While Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton led the day with 67s, overnight leader Martin Kaymer scrambled a two-over-par 72 for a five-shot cushion ahead of Sunday.
Mulroy went through sectional qualifying at Walton Heath, but he was at home at Pinehurst on Saturday and reached the 54-hole mark at three-over for the championship.
“The front nine today I did hit a hybrid out of bounds on number 3. But apart from that, I drove it pretty solid on the front nine. Until about 14. Then I started hitting it in the waste area a bit. But I made some nice putts, so that's probably what kept my round going,” he said.
A double-bogey at the 16th left Mulroy outside of the red numbers for his third round, but a birdie at the last rebooted the momentum.
“On 18 I actually drove it in the waste area, got a half decent lie, and hit a wedge downwind today, so it's playing a little bit shorter, hit a wedge probably 20 feet, quite a bit of break on it, but up the hill, so you could give it a go,” he said.
A journeyman of the Web.com Tour and a European Tour winner, Mulroy is taking the week as it comes. After a steady Saturday he’ll be excited to play the US Open final round.
“I played mini tours for a few years, played in Asia for a couple years, played a few years on the web.com, a few years in Europe, a few years on TOUR. Wherever they will let me play. This week has been great and hopefully it continues,” he said.