A bunched leaderboard that made for infinite potentialities on shifting day on the US Open acquired much more crowded on the prime within the dying phases of Saturday’s third spherical.
Louis Oosthuizen deposited a 30-foot putt for eagle on the 18th inexperienced, shortly after sinking a 30-footer for birdie on the sixteenth, to vault right into a three-way tie for the 54-hole lead at Torrey Pines Golf Course alongside Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes and Russell Henley of the US and setting the stage for prime drama on Sunday afternoon.
Hughes, the 30-year-old Canadian who entered the match on a string of 4 missed cuts, leapfrogged up the board after draining a 63-foot eagle putt on the par-five thirteenth earlier than getting up and down from a bunker on the 18th to card a three-under 68 for the day.
Henley, the 32-year-old from Georgia who has received three titles on the PGA Tour however none since 2017, went off in Saturday’s closing group and largely stood as much as the strain of the midway lead, mixing 4 birdies with 4 bogeys for an even-par 71 to remain at five-under and on the tempo.
Eighteen gamers began the day inside 5 strokes of shock midway leaders Henley and Richard Bland and it didn’t take lengthy for the family names to make their expenses, most notably Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau.
Ten years to the day he broke his main championship maiden with an eight-stroke win on the 2011 US Open at Congressional, McIlroy opened the again 9 with three birdies in 4 holes and salvaged a bogey after flaying a drive into the yawning barranca that separates the North and South Programs.
After saving par from a greenside bunker on the sixteenth, McIlroy parred the seventeenth after which birdied the par-five 18th to match the low spherical of the match with a four-under 67.
“That is the one match on this planet the place you fist pump a bogey. Solely dropping one [on the 15th] was a giant deal, and getting it up-and-down out of the bunker on 16 and making that birdie on 18 simply to get that shot again that I misplaced. Actually huge.”
He added: “Twenty-eleven felt like a stroll within the park in comparison with this. You understand, if I’m going to get one other US Open trophy, I’m going to need to battle for it a bit greater than I did 10 years in the past.”
McIlroy was joined at three-under by DeChambeau, the 2020 US Open champion who drifted as little as five-over throughout Friday’s second spherical however managed to revive his title protection after making birdies Saturday on the primary, fifth and fifteenth holes. He’ll enter Sunday’s closing spherical two photographs off the lead – similar as final 12 months at Winged Foot.
That he solely managed to hit 5 of 14 fairways was immaterial: this was DeChambeau’s first bogey-free rating in 67 profession rounds at majors.
“You’ve acquired to be actually affected person out right here at these majors,” DeChambeau stated. “It’s one thing that isn’t simple to do. My first few goes at majors, I used to be not profitable or anyplace close to profitable, and I really feel like I’m beginning to perceive main championship golf and learn how to play it and learn how to go about managing my recreation, my perspective and simply my persistence degree. If I can proceed to do this tomorrow, I believe I’ll have an excellent likelihood.”
For the unheralded Bland, who captured his first European Tour title in his 476th try final month, a storybook match lastly took a southward flip with six bogeys and no birdies for a 77, dropping all the way in which again to one-over for the championship and 6 strokes off the tempo.
“That’s the US Open: Some days it’s simply going to beat you up all day, and at the moment was my day,” Bland stated. “I struggled with my irons all day. I drove the ball fairly good, which is what it is advisable to do. I simply couldn’t take benefit from there, and I didn’t actually give myself any respectable appears to be like for birdies.”
Phil Mickelson, who grew to become the oldest ever main champion finally month’s US PGA Championship, was among the many early starters after firing a second-round 69 to make the lower following an opening-round 75. The six-time US Open runner-up wanted one thing particular to revive his fading hopes of finishing the profession grand slam in his hometown, however made just one fairway on the entrance 9 and 6 of 14 total en path to a 76.
Jon Rahm carded a 72 to sit down at two-under for the week together with Scottie Scheffler (70) and Matthew Wolff (73). Former main champions Dustin Johnson (68) and Collin Morikawa (70) are among the many six at one-under.
They’ll all be chasing the leaders on Sunday with loads of possibilities on a course that expects to play much more tough for the ultimate spherical.
The 38-year-old Oosthuizen isn’t any stranger to the highest of the leaderboard at skilled golf’s 4 bedrock occasions: he was the 2010 Open champion and might boast runner-up finishes on the different three majors, together with finally month’s US PGA Championship.
“It’s a golf course the place something can occur,” Oosthuizen stated. “There’s numerous nice gamers up there that’s acquired an opportunity of successful this, and I simply must exit and play nearly as good as I can tomorrow.”