Canada

Wolff shoots 65 to lead U.S. Open by 2

Matthew Wolff shot a 5-under-par 65 on Saturday to build a two-shot lead heading into the final round of the 120th U.S. Open in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Bryson DeChambeau recovered from a pair of bogeys to start his round to card an even-par 70 and is 3 under for the tournament. He reached 4 under before a bogey on the 18th hole doubled Wolff’s lead entering Sunday.

The only other player under par is Louis Oosthuizen, whose 68 on Saturday propelled him to 1 under heading into the final round.

Harris English, Xander Schauffele and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama are tied for fourth at even par, with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy climbing 15 spots to 1 over for the tournament with a 68 on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Wolff hit only two of 14 fairways in the third round, but relied on his red-hot putter to tie the lowest score in the six U.S. Opens held at Winged Foot, equaling the mark Justin Thomas set on Thursday.

Finding fairways has been an issue for the leader all week. Wolff has hit just 12 through the first three rounds, the fewest ever by the 54-hole leader of a U.S. Open. The next closest? Jim Furyk hit 20 in sharing the 54-hole lead in 2012 before going on to tie for fourth.

Wolff punctuated his round by draining a birdie putt on the 18th hole Saturday to extend his lead.

DeChambeau said he’ll lean on the experience he gained in winning the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship.

“I think it’s just another day of golf, I gotta look at it as that,” he said. “That’s what I did at the U.S. Amateur. I went out and shot 3, 4 under playing that final match. That’s the way I’m going to look at it.

“I gotta go fix a couple of things on the range, get some things tightened up, and I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

All five previous winners of U.S. Opens held at Winged Foot were within two shots of the lead through 36 holes. Wolff was four shots behind Patrick Reed entering Saturday.

Reed shot a 77 in the third round, including an 8-over 43 on the back nine that included six bogeys and a double bogey. He fell into a tie for 11th at 3 over for the tournament.

Thomas followed his 73 on Friday with a 76 on Saturday and fell 14 more places to a tie for 17th.

NOTES: Top-ranked Dustin Johnson shot a 72 on Saturday and is 10 shots off the lead. Second-ranked Jon Rahm tumbled to 7 over for the tournament with a third-round 76. … The U.S. Open is being played in September for the first time since 1913 after being postponed from June due to the coronavirus pandemic. … Six major championships will be played during the 2020-21 PGA Tour season. … The A.W. Tillinghast-designed West Course opened in 1923 and was renovated by Gil Hanse in 2015.

“I was walking up the 18th fairway and I told my caddie, ‘I’m going to shoot as low as possible with hitting as little fairways,'” Wolff said. “Because if I don’t hit fairways tomorrow, I know I can play well.”

Wolff is in just his second year as a professional, but is already ranked No. 36 in the world and poised to climb significantly further after this week. His first-round 66 is also tied for the third-lowest U.S. Open score at Winged Foot.

Wolf is playing in his first U.S. Open and just his second career major. He said he’ll rely Sunday on the experience he gained in leading the Rocket Mortgage Classic after 54 holes in July, only to watch DeChambeau “clip” him with a 65 on Sunday to win by three shots over Wolff, who shot a final-round 71.

“Just being in that lead and knowing what it’s like to sleep on the lead, I feel like I’m going to look back on that a little bit,” he said. “But there’s really not much you can do. It’s a really hard course.

“Today was a good day, and I’m just going to go out there and do the same thing. And whatever happens, happens.”

He will again be attempting to fight off DeChambeau, who birdied No. 16 and No. 17 to chip into the three-shot lead Wolff had when he walked off the course.

“I felt like I was just trying to hope it into the fairway today, and that’s not what you want at a U.S. Open,” DeChambeau said. “But it shows resiliency and perseverance that I was able to shoot even par starting off with two bogies.”

Wolff and DeChambeau, 27, will comprise the youngest final fourth-round grouping since the U.S. Open went to four rounds in 1965. The five previous 54-hole leaders at Winged Foot averaged a 76.8 on Sunday.

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