Bryson DeChambeau stuck by all his theories - no matter how out there - to make the step up from regular PGA Tour winner. Now he's a major champion
And then there were three. Under par, that is. Without getting ahead of ourselves, Patrick Reed, the 36-hole leader at 5-under, is not one of them. I know you’re here for the Danny Lee incident – and we will get to it, but there was a lot more going on at the US Open…
A good day for…
Where else would we start? Wolff – he of the funky swing – only turned professional in June last year and won his maiden PGA Tour title within a month.
The 21-year-old made his major championship debut at last month’s PGA Championship and finished in a tie for 4th. He’ll go into the final round of the US Open with a two-shot lead after a frankly ridiculous 65 on a day where only six others carded rounds in the 60s.
It wasn’t without drama though, as the Californian managed to avoid a potentially disastrous rules drama. I’ll let Rules of Golf expert Steve Carroll clear that one up, though.
If Wolff does join Collin Morikawa in the winners’ circle, it’ll be the first time since Bobby Jones and Gene Sarazen in 1923 that two players under the age of 23 have won a major in the same year.
Wolff would also become the first player to win the US Open at the first attempt since Frances Ouimet in 1913, precisely 107 years to the day and the last time this championship was played in September.
And he’s the second youngest 54-hole leader at a US Open and would become the youngest major winner since Tiger Woods in 1997.
That’s a lot of history to be made on man’s young shoulders. Pick a number between one and four. That’s how many hours’ sleep he got last night.
Another player looking for his maiden major championship, DeChambeau opened bogey-bogey on Saturday and, although he steadied the ship, had at one point found himself three off Wolff’s lead.
But back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17 got him within one before a six-footer for par slid by at the last that not only gives his young rival a two-shot cushion going into the final day but cost him a third consecutive under-par round at Winged Foot.
He said before the round that “anything within six shots means you’re in with a chance around here”. Just one bogey in a 2-under 68 for the four-time major champion and he is precisely six back going into the final day.
A bad day for…
Reed started the day top of the leaderboard at 4-under. He finished it in tied-11th at 3-over.
The 2018 Masters champion was 1-under par for the day at the turn before carding six bogeys and a double on the back nine for a 7-over 77.
When Wolff got underway in the third round, he was four behind Reed. He’s now eight ahead.
The Englishman was 5-over through 7 on Saturday and went out in 39, but then something clicked and he carded four birdies on the spin from the 11th and another at 18 to come home in 30.
So how can it be a bad day when you’re one of only five players to shoot under par? Because Casey won’t get anywhere near winning this championship and he’ll fly home to Arizona on Sunday wondering what might have been.
Still, he seems happy enough. “I’m glad I finally got one off of Winged Foot,” he said. “It takes its pound of flesh every single time you seem to play this golf course, so I feel like I got an ounce or two of my own flesh back.”
Danny Lee carded a quintuple-bogey 9 to finish his round on Saturday. But that doesn’t even begin to tell the story. Click here to read about his excruciating travails.
Shot of the day
This from Xander Schauffele was incredible…
How many of you would have either left it in there or skinned it through the back?
But it has to be this putt from Bryson…
Missing right, missing left, and in. His reaction is ace, too.
Stat of the day
The scoring average on Saturday was 73.63. Wolff beat it by 8.63.
But I’m always a fan of an age-related stat, so here’s a classic Justin Ray nugget:
The 15th Club number cruncher also noted that the last 21 US Opens have been won by a player within four shots of the lead entering the final round.
So your winner is Wolff, DeChambeau, or Louis Oosthuizen.
Who’s your money on?
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