A clustered leaderboard that offered endless possibilities on move-in day at the US Open was even more crowded at the top in the later stages of Saturday’s third round.
Louis Oosthuizen deposited a 30-foot putt for the eagle on the 18th green, shortly after sinking a 30-foot putt for the birdie on the 16, to jump to a triple-tie for the 54-hole lead at Torrey Golf Course. Pines with Canadian Mackenzie. Hughes and Russell Henley from the USA and setting the stage for some great drama on Sunday afternoon.
Hughes, the 30-year-old Canadian who entered the tournament with a series of four failed cuts, jumped the board after draining a 63-foot eagle putt at par five 13 before going up and down from a bunker on the 18th to sign. a three under 68 for the day.
Henley, the 32-year-old from Georgia who has won three PGA Tour titles but none since 2017, left in the last group on Saturday and largely withstood the mid-race pressure, mixing four birdies with four. bogeys for a par 71 to keep pace with five under par.
Eighteen players started the day five surprise shots from midfield leaders Henley and Richard Bland and it wasn’t long before household names took over, most notably Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau.
Ten years after the day he broke his great championship maiden with an eight-stroke victory at the 2011 U.S. Open in Congress, McIlroy opened the final nine with three birdies over four holes and rescued a bogey after hitting a drive. towards the enormous ravine that separates the North and South Courses.
After saving par from a bunker on the green on the 16th, McIlroy parried on the 17th and then birdied the par-five on the 18th to equal the low round of the tournament with a 67-under-four.
“This is the only tournament in the world where you punch by punch. Only losing one [on the 15th] It was a big deal, and going up and down the bunker at 16 and birdie at 18 just to get back that shot I missed. Really big.”
He added: “Twenty-one felt like a walk in the park compared to this. You know, if I’m going to get another US Open trophy, I’ll have to fight for it a little bit more than 10 years ago. “
McIlroy joined three-under with DeChambeau, the 2020 US Open champion who slipped to five-under during Friday’s second round but managed to revive his title defense after making birdies Saturday in the first, fifth and 15th. holes. He will enter Sunday’s final round two strokes behind the leader, just like last year at Winged Foot.
That he only managed to hit five of the 14 fairways was irrelevant: This was DeChambeau’s first ghost-free score in 67 rounds of major league racing.
“You have to be very patient here in these majors,” DeChambeau said. “It is something that is not easy to do. My first major league careers, I was unsuccessful or not even successful, and I feel like I’m starting to understand important championship golf and how to play it and how to manage my game, my attitude, and just my level of patience. . If I can keep doing that tomorrow, I think I’ll have a good chance. “
For the little-heralded Bland, who captured his first European Tour title at his 476th attempt last month, a fairytale tournament finally took a turn south with six bogeys and no birdies for a 77, falling back to one more for the championship and six strokes off the beat.
“That’s the US Open – some days it’s going to beat you up all day, and today was my day,” Bland said. “I fought with my irons all day. I handled the ball quite well, which is what you should do. I just couldn’t take advantage of it, and I didn’t really give myself any decent looks for birdies. “
Phil Mickelson, who became the oldest senior champion in the U.S. PGA Championship last month, was among the first to start after shooting a 69 in the second round to make the cut after a Opening round of 75. The six-time US Open runner-up needed something special to revive his faded hopes of completing his career grand slam in his hometown, but he made just one street in the first nine and six of 14 overall in the way to 76.
Jon Rahm loaded a 72 to sit at two-under for the week alongside Scottie Scheffler (70) and Matthew Wolff (73). Former major league champions Dustin Johnson (68) and Collin Morikawa (70) are among the six with an under par.
All will chase the leaders on Sunday with plenty of opportunities in a field that hopes to play even more difficult for the final round.
The 38-year-old Oosthuizen is no stranger to the top of the rankings in the four pivotal events of professional golf – he was the 2010 Open champion and can boast of being runner-up in the other three majors, including the PGA Championship of USA from last month.
“It is a golf course where anything can happen,” said Oosthuizen. “There are a lot of great players up there who have a chance to win this, and I just need to go out there and play the best I can tomorrow.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism