Four-way tie at US Open as strong winds wreak havoc
The third round of the US Open was nothing short of extraordinary with Daniel Berger, Tony Finau, 2017 US Open champion Brooks Koepka and 2016 US Open champion Dustin Johnson sharing the lead the 54-hole lead at 3-over-par.
It’s the first time over par has been recorded at the US Open since Aaron Baddeley’s 2-over-par 54-hole total at Oakmont in 2007.
Johnson, who has held the lead from day one, finished off a 7-over 77 with a bogey on the 18th. The world No.1 has dominated Shinnecock Hills the first two days by avoiding big mistakes and taking advantage of rare opportunities to score.
Yet on Saturday the mistakes were plentiful especially on the greens after a double-bogey on the second, and again on the 4th, 6th and 7th, giving away a four shot lead in eight holes.
Brooks Koepka (Credit: Anthony Powter)
Johnson then needed to dig deep to keep himself in the tournament by minimising the damage as best he could coming in.
Certainly Shinnecock Hills has proven to be a brut.
Yes, the scores have been high, but with the world’s best in attendance those who’ve played well have stood out, whilst others have experienced pure carnage.
Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson were put on the clock for slow play on a day when any putt that trickled past the hole might run off the green.
Phil Mickelson seemed to briefly lose his mind during his round, slapping a ball that was rolling off the 13th green while it was still moving. He incurred a two-stroke penalty that nearly got him disqualified but instead left him with a 10 on that hole.
Spare a thought for Rickie Fowler who opened with rounds of 73 and 69 to see his chances of claiming that elusive major slip following a third round 84. To his credit he played with passion and continued to engage his fans despite having a round that he’d rather forget.
There is nothing wrong with what’s occurred over the last three days at Shinnecock Hills, pro golfers should not be precious but many have been vocal all week, venting unfair criticism upon the USGA.
Allegations of unfair pins. Allegations of cheating. Players cursing and complaining.
The world’s best need to keep in perspective that the USGA has never shied away from claiming their Open is the toughest of the tough. You can sympathise with the players, but only to an extent, they are paid well and pampered each week on tour, time to move as a major is up for grabs if they want the title instead of complaining.
Just two Aussies made the weekend and Marc Leishman was out of the blocks early with a chance to press the leaders until a costly mistake on the 8th hole, which resulted in a triple bogey, hurt his chances. The Victorian would go onto card a 78.
It was a tough day at the office for Leishman and the breaks just did not fall his way and he finds himself in a share of 33rd position after starting with a share of 11th position.
Aaron Baddley fired a 77 and is currently in a share of 50th position.