Mark Townsend rounds up the best of the final day in his US Open report as Gary Woodland ran out a brilliant winner at Pebble Beach

US Open report: What happened on Saturday at Pebble Beach?

Gary Woodland (69) and Justin Rose (68) will do it all again on Sunday after the Englishman birdied the last to close the gap to just one. This couldn’t have been further removed from the Saturday at Shinnecock as the leaders continued to inch forward on a very fair set-up with the leaders rock solid in keeping themselves clear of the pack.

If Brooks Koepka is to create all manner of new records he will have to do it from four back of Woodland.

The big spark of an entertaining Saturday came at the 12th when Woodland semi-shanked his chip from a horrible lie above his feet but then chipped in to save par and, moments later, Rose followed him in with a birdie two.

Two holes later, Woodland made an equally ridiculous par when he drained a 43-footer at the par 5 and, again, Rose, unperturbed, rolled in his birdie putt. And his fifth birdie of the day at the last halved the lead after getting up and down from the sand.

The two-time defending champion Koepka didn’t drop a shot in his 68 to progress to seven under but it was a par putt across the green at the 15th that was the highlight of his efforts. Other than his first seven holes of the week it feels like the American is still to catch fire and, having taken a few weeks off after his PGA win, he might be set to time his run to perfection yet again.

Koepka is joined on seven under by his countryman Chez Reavie, who only needed his putter 24 times in his 68 and Louis Oosthuizen (70) who had a hat-trick of birdies from the 15th to get himself right back into the mix.

One behind them is Rory McIlroy, who had a low-key 70 which leaves the 2011 champion five adrift of Woodland. Other than some iffy bunker play, McIlroy continued to play with his new-found freedom and he will be hoping to make some bigger dents in the par 5s if he’s going to enjoy another big major Sunday.

US Open leaderboard | Tee times

Matt Wallace and 2010 champion here Graeme McDowell both returned level-par 71s and both eagled the 18th to finish the day at four under. Wallace, playing with Koepka, had struggled on the front nine, closing it out with a double bogey to be out in 38. But a birdie at 14 and the three at the last turned it into a satisfactory effort.

And they are joined on the same mark by three fellow Europeans – Jon Rahm, Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett, who had the low round of the day with his 67.

US Open report: Saturday talking points

On Friday night we didn’t get to hear from Patrick Reed about his club snap at 18 but, after his Saturday 72, we got to hear all about it.

The build-up to the knee slam involved a 6-iron that didn’t advance further than 100 yards from the rough and a bit of a knife with the same 61-degree wedge before the all-decisive flub.

“To me, it’s no big deal. It was comical after watching it afterwards. But it wasn’t comical having to go through hitting poor wedge shot after poor wedge shot, especially when I pride myself on my short game and being able to get up and down.

“It deserved it. We always call it ’61 and done’ because it usually gets me out of jail all the time. It kept me in jail on that one.”

And Reed being Reed he had a few more thoughts on the matter.

“I got my anger out. I didn’t do anything to the course, I didn’t say any obscenities or anything like that. It was a split-second and I moved on.

“You have Sergio with what he did on the greens (in Saudi Arabia). Rory threw his club in the water on 8 at Doral, you had Lucas Bjerregaard send his driver in the water here. It happens.

“As long as you’re not doing anything that is damaging the course or damaging the players that you’re playing with, I’d rather let it out than keep it in.”

And it almost happened again on Saturday..

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Previously making the cut at Carnoustie in last year’s Open was the highlight of Rhys Enoch’s career. Now he is on the verge of an incredible finish (and pay day) after his third-round 71.

The Welshman, who came through the qualifying at Walton Heath, partnered Patrick Reed in Scotland and they were back together again, a day after firing a 66 to beat his opening 78 by 12 and make the weekend on the mark.

Enoch plays his golf on the Sunshine and Challenge Tours and a big final day could have life-changing connotations in terms of getting off the latter where he’s played for the past six years.

Enoch spoke to my colleague Harvey Jamison at Pebble Beach earlier in the week:

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Pebble Beach’s director of golf John Sawin missed out on qualifying but still managed to feature in the championship after acting as a marker for Justin Walters. He found out at 8pm on Friday that there was an odd number which meant he could get his clubs out.

Sawin only took the job about 18 months ago so had only played the course around 20 times though he was the last man on the course before the USGA took over.

“We have it exactly where we want it. It’s playing spectacular. It’s certainly not easy despite some cloud cover and very little wind. I don’t know how many people have missed the cut at sectional but played the weekend at the Open. That’s a pretty cool distinction.”

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And finally, who doesn’t love Henrik Stenson?

US Open report: Best photo

Woodland and THAT par save on 12…

US Open report: Best quotes

“When it’s cold like this, everything is achy. It’s just part of the deal. It’s been like that for years. The forces have to go somewhere. And if they’re not in the lower back, they’re in the neck. And if not, they’re in the mid-back. And if not, they go to the knee. You name it.”

– Tiger Woods on the tape that was visible on his neck

US Open report: Best stats

US Open report: Best tweet

US Open report: Best (and worst) moments

 

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If you missed the best bits from Friday, head to the next page…