Matthew Wolff leads US Open but Rory McIlroy is among the chasing pack

Northern Irishman played himself into contention with a 68 but Wolff leads by two

Matthew Wolff hits from the fairway on the 18th hole during the third round of the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. Photo: Justin Lane/EPA

Matthew Wolff hits from the fairway on the 18th hole during the third round of the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. Photo: Justin Lane/EPA

 

Matthew Wolff, playing in only his second major, stole the show at an unforgiving Winged Foot with a scorching start and steady finish to grab an unlikely two-shot lead over big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau on Saturday at the US Open.

But a host of big names will look to chase the 21-year-old down on Sunday, one of those being Rory McIlroy who revived his hopes of a first Major title in six years with a third round 68 to get to one over par, six shots behind the leader.

“It was really good,” McIlroy said of a round containing three birdies and one bogey which followed his disappointing 76 on Friday. “The key for me was just to play the first five holes well.”

Those last five holes would prove to be some of the toughest all day but McIlroy coped well, making a number of crucial par putts on the back nine to maintain his rhythm while a great up and down on the 17th and a two-putt par on the 18th capped off the round.

“I saw from a few of the guys early on they were playing really tough, so to get through those in even par, I knew that middle section of the round you could maybe make a couple of birdies and then you sort of have to hang on coming in.

“I executed the game plan really well, knocked a couple in when I could and yeah, a really good round of golf. If I’m within six going into tomorrow that’s not a lot on this golf course. I feel like I’m right in it.”

McIlroy waits to putt on the first green. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
McIlroy waits to putt on the first green. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Wolff began the day four shots behind overnight leader Patrick Reed but erased that deficit in seven holes en route to a five under par 65 that tied the low round of the week and brought him to five under overall.

“I like to go out there and do what I feel comfortable with, rip dog and see how it goes from there,” said Wolff, who will look to become the first player to win the U.S. Open in his tournament debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913.

“I feel comfortable with every part of my game so I don’t like to shy away from things when I’m feeling confident, and I’m probably going to do the same tomorrow.”

The front nine at Winged Foot is one of the more daunting stretches in golf but a steadfast Wolff came out firing lasers at tricky pin positions and reached the turn with a blistering five under 30 after five birdies.

Wolff, who hit just two of 14 fairways, made his lone bogey at the par-four 16th but responded in style with a birdie at the last after sticking his approach shot to 10 feet.

DeChambeau (70), who began the day one shot back of Reed, made a bogey-bogey start but leaned on his power to chase down Wolff and squandered a chance to finish within one shot of the lead when he two-putted from six-feet for a closing bogey.

Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (68) was four shots back of Wolff while Hideki Matsuyama (70) and Xander Schauffele (70) were each a further shot adrift.

World number 10 Reed (77) drained a nine-foot birdie at the ninth to share the lead but fell apart over a nightmarish inward nine during which he made six bogeys and a double-bogey to fall into a share of 11th place, eight shots back of Wolff.

Meanwhile, Shane Lowry got off to a nightmare start with a bogey at the first and a triple at the second on the way to a round of 77 for a total of 13 over par.

Collated third round scores & totals in the U.S. Open, Winged Foot GC, Mamaroneck, New York (USA unless stated, par 70):

205 Matthew Wolff 66 74 65

207 Bryson DeChambeau 69 68 70

209 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 67 74 68

210 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 71 69 70, Xander Schauffele 68 72 70, Harris English 68 70 72

211 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 67 76 68

212 Zach Johnson 70 74 68, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 71 71 70, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 68 70 74

213 Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 68 73 72, Alex Noren (Swe) 72 74 67, Lucas Glover 71 71 71, Patrick Reed 66 70 77, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 66 74 73, Webb Simpson 71 71 71

214 Justin Thomas 65 73 76, Will Zalatoris 70 74 70, Adam Long 71 74 69, Billy Horschel 72 70 72

215 Tony Finau 69 73 73, Dustin Johnson 73 70 72, Brendon Todd 68 72 75, Paul Casey (Eng) 76 70 69, Bubba Watson 72 69 74, Lee Westwood (Eng) 67 76 72

216 Jason Kokrak 68 71 77, Thomas Detry (Bel) 71 72 73, Lanto Griffin 71 74 71, Renato Paratore (Ita) 71 72 73

217 Daniel Berger 73 70 74, Jon Rahm (Spa) 69 72 76, Charles Howell III 73 72 72

218 Matt Wallace (Eng) 70 75 73, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 70 76 72, Sungjae Im (Kor) 70 75 73, Rickie Fowler 69 77 72

219 Adam Scott (Aus) 71 74 74, Adam Hadwin (Can) 72 73 74

220 Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn) 72 74 74, Stephan Jaeger (Ger) 71 70 79, Michael Thompson 70 75 75, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 72 74 74, Taylor Pendrith (Can) 71 74 75, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 70 74 76, Romain Langasque (Fra) 71 74 75

221 Brian Harman 74 72 75, Tyler Duncan 73 71 77, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 73 72 76

222 Jason Day (Aus) 72 74 76, Cameron Smith (Aus) 71 73 78, Robert Macintyre (Sco) 74 72 76, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 71 74 77, Patrick Cantlay 70 76 76

223 Danny Lee (Nzl) 70 75 78, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 69 76 78, Shugo Imahira (Jpn) 71 74 78, Shane Lowry (Irl) 76 70 77, Chesson Hadley 73 73 77

224 Troy Merritt 72 74 78, John Pak 69 76 79

225 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 71 75 79

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