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Rory McIlroy trails Rickie Fowler by one ahead of final round at LA Country Club

A costly three-putt by Rickie Fowler on the 18th hole at Los Angeles Country Club took him into a tie for the lead with Wyndham Clark on Saturday, while the Rory McIlroy US Open dream was also reignited
 

What a final round we are in for at Los Angeles Country Club.

Rickie Fowler carded a level par 70 in a day three of ups and downs to remain in a share of the 54-hole lead with Wyndham Clark – but waiting in the wings is a certain Northern Irishman.

There was a brief three-way tie at the top when Rory McIlroy birdied the 3rd and Fowler dropped a shot at the 2nd.

But the American recovered with a two on the long par-3 7th and then birdied the 13th. There was drama at the last, though, when the man from Murrieta three-putted for bogey – lipping out his par attempt – and opened the door for McIlroy and Clark.

“Obviously you could see from the first putt, there’s a lot of slope there,” Fowler said afterward. “I’m not sure why it didn’t move. It should have. I hit a good putt, so really can’t go back on it, obviously.

“Just a bummer. It would be nice for that one to go in. Really doesn’t matter, having the lead, being one back, two back. You’re going to have to play good golf tomorrow.

“Bummer to have that one slip away, but tomorrow is a whole new day, and like I said, that’s when the tournament really starts.”

Fowler is aiming to complete a wire-to-wire victory that wouldn’t only be his first win on the PGA Tour since 2019, but his long-awaited first major title.

As for McIlroy, his one-under 69 did no damage to his chances in California of ending a nine-year drought at golf’s big four events, heading into the final day of a major championship just one shot adrift on nine-under.

Looking to end a near decade major drought, he said: “The golf course definitely got a little bit trickier today than the first couple of days. I felt like I played really smart, solid golf. Hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens. Sort of felt somewhat stress free out there, if you can ever call golf at a U.S. Open stress free.”

“It’s been such a long time since I’ve done it,” he added after being asked whether the know-how of winning a major might help him in the final round. “I’m going out there to try to execute a game plan, and I feel like over the last three days I’ve executed that game plan really, really well, and I just need to do that for one more day.”

Elsewhere, Scottie Scheffler incredibly holed out from 196 yards away on the par-4 17th hole, and birdied the last, as he ominously reached seven-under.

And n the early groups on Saturday, Tom Kim threatened Fowler and Xander Schauffele’s major scoring records of 62 after equalling the lowest score on the front nine in US Open history with 29 blows.

He finished with a 66 to end up tied with LIV Golf players Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Smith in tied for ninth.

US Open third round leaderboard:

-10 R Fowler, W Clark
-9 R McIlroy
-7 S Scheffler
-6 H English
-5 D Johnson, X Schauffele
-4 R Nagano
-3 B DeChambeau, C Smith, T Kim

NOW READ: Cameron Young hits drive in place never seen before at US Open

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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