It was another tough day to score for Winged Foot, and now there is a new face at the top of the leaderboard. Here’s how things look heading to the final round of the US Open, where Matthew Woolf will be looking to become the first player in more than a century to win his debut:
Leaderboard: Matthew Wolf (-5), Bresson Deschambo (-3), Louis Ostwiseen (-1), Zander Shavili (English), Hideki Matsuyama (English), Harris English (English)
what do you mean: Wolff started the day with four shots off the pace, but moved up the standings with five birds over the first nine holes as the rest of the leaders fought to save the tie. At just 21-years-old, he made his debut at the US Open and plays in his second career major only. Wolf grabbed a lead on the turn and quickly built a three-shot pad. He is now in a position to become the first to win his debut at the US Open since Frances Uwimmet in 1913 and become the youngest major winner since the 21-year-old Tiger Woods at the 1997 Masters. But the margin is only two after he played DeChambeau made his last three holes in 1 under one to stay in hand while looking for a big hack of his own.
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Day tour: Wolf brought memories of Phil Mickelson from 2006, but this time there were no guest tents. The former Oklahoma state star only hit two of the 14 regular lanes, but dashed from different angles of the track, turning 5-under 30 and continuing the cherished life from there. He capped a Tour of 5 under 65 with a 10-foot bird in 18th position, his sixth in the day, with Justin Thomas tied in the low round of the week and the lowest score ever at the US Open Wingspan.
The best of the rest: Alex Noren came out early and showed the commanders that there was, in fact, a score on Saturday on West Coors. The Swedish made a major lead in the standings with 3-under 67, his best performance of the week with five shots and one that for a while looked like it would be the low round of the day. Noreen cuts the number 6 more but after making 4 birds against a ghost, he will head to the final round in a draw for 11 at 3 more, eight shots behind Wolff.
The biggest disappointment: Reed appeared in cruise control after a pair of early birds, increasing his lead from one shot to three. But it all fell apart for the former Masters champion on the nine defenses, taking 43 inside cards after playing number 10-15 at 6. Reid kept the lead midway thanks to his big portion of his stunning short game, but after 7-over 77, he faces Now eight deficits. The honorable mention here goes to a pair of former world classifiers, with both Justin Thomas (+4) and John Ram (+7) fading out of competition after 76 match rounds.
The main story heads to Sunday: All eyes will be on Wolf, who will be looking to follow former college contemporary Colin Morikawa by acquiring a major on his second major start only and without fans attending. While Morikawa came from behind at TPC Harding Park, Wolff would have a goal on the back in the entire final round with two long shots from DeChambeau, and adept players like Oosthuizen and Schauffele still at close range. Oh, and don’t sleep on Rory McIlroy, who trails 6 points in 1 after the third round 68 as he looks to win a major championship for the first time since 2014. Wolf had his first PGA Tour victory last summer at 3M Open, but he’s about to enter a different position For whatever position he has faced so far in his emerging professional career.
Picture of the day: Lucky bouncing from the rough preliminary stage, Wolf hit a dead target as he approached the latter from 207 yards at 10 feet. He quietly rolled into the knockout to seal the day’s lowest round with two polka dots and ensure he takes center stage heading into the final round.
Quote today: “Once I’m on top of it and know what it means to sleep on the lead, I feel like I’ll take a little back.” – Wolf, who advanced three shots through 54 holes in Rocket Mortgage Classic in June, but finished second with three shots ultimately behind DeChambeau.