The third round of the U.S. Open is underway, and a number of the game’s biggest stars are in contention to win the year’s third major. Gary Woodland held a two-shot lead at the halfway point after shooting nine-under 133 for the first two rounds—one shot lower than Tiger Woods shot when he won by 15 here in 2000—but Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen, Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka and a host of other contenders are hot on his heels.
Tiger Woods will need to make up some ground, as he sat at even par through 36 holes. Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth enter Saturday at one under, while Dustin Johnson, the pre-tournament favorite, is a two under.
Another ridiculous save from Woodland—He pushed his tee shot right into thick rough on the par-5 14th, then hit a poor layup into the left rough, then came up well short with his third, then chunked his fourth and got lucky it didn’t roll right back down to his feet, then holed a 30 footer for par. Unbelievable, that save and the one on 12.
If Gary Woodland wins the U.S. Open, remember that par save. He loved his tee shot on the par-3 12th but it came up short and finished in the face of a bunker. From there, he shanked his chip dead right…then chipped in for par. Meanwhile, Justin Rose birdied the same hole after a pure 5-iron.
Minutes later, Brooks Koepka holed a chip shot from well off the green for his par, right after hitting his first chip well over. A wild couple of minutes.
Things were more or less staying the same, besides Chez Reavie as gotten it to -7. (He has made basically every putt he’s looked at). Then Gary Woodland just stuck his approach on 11 to about three feet and converted to get back to -11.
Woodland just three-putted 8 for bogey—the first hiccup he’s had in an otherwise ideal start—and Justin Rose, playing alonside him, made a tremendous birdie there. So all of a sudden, that four-shot lead has shrunk to two. It’s a reminder of just how much golf there is to be played and just how many things can happen in a U.S. Open.
If Gary Woodland is nervous, he’s certainly not showing it. He just made a solid birdie at the par-5 6th to get to -11 for the tournament, and he now leads Justin Rose by four. Meanwhile, Brooks Koepka is going along quite nicely, as he’s -3 for the round and in a tie for third at -7. That is the last name you want to see on the leaderboard chasing you.
Woodland birdied the fifth hole to go to 10 under. He holds a three shot lead over Rose and Kuchar, who’s -3 on the day.
Tiger hit a birdie on the 18th hole to finish with a 71, putting him at even after three rounds.
Kopeka hit back-to-back birdies on six and seven to go to -6. Chesson Hadley sunk an eagle putt on six, putting him at -6. Matt Kuchar followed with an eagle of his own on six, pushing him to seven under and a share of second place with Rose.
Tiger Woods birdies on the 14th hole to go to +1. It was his third birdie of the day. Not a great start for McIlroy, whose first bogey on the front nine this week comes on the first hole.
The 2013 champion rolled in a birdie at the 18th to move to 10 under par after an enthralling day in California.
World number one Brooks Koepka, chasing a third successive US Open victory, is three further back with Chez Reavie and Louis Oosthuizen at seven under par.
Rory McIlroy birdied the last to card a one-under 70 and reach six under.
Fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, US Open winner at this venue in 2010, holed an eagle putt at the last to improve his score to four under.
England’s Danny Willett is four under after shooting a 67, the round of the day, but Masters champion Tiger Woods was left frustrated by a level par offering that included five birdies and as many bogeys.
World number two Dustin Johnson looked set to make his move after successive birdies on the third and fourth holes, only for the 2016 champion to immediately drop a shot and a bogey at 16 left him at two under for the tournament, alongside reigning Open champion Francesco Molinari.