Nothing changed when it came to the weather in the third round of the US Open in Torrey pines. Saturday dawned cloudy and just after noon the sun began to appear. The field dried up, but by the time that happened, many had finished taking advantage of the best conditions.
Several of the big names had made the cut with just enough and in one of the first outings they were Paul casey Y Jordan sppieth.
The Englishman, who fights a place to go to Tokyo with the ranking closing this sunday, presented a card of 67 strokes and with a total of -1 he gave himself the chance to dream of a record lap on the final day and perhaps lift the trophy.
Spieth signed 68 and left several shots on the court. Like Casey, you will need many birdies and no mistakes on Sunday.
Jordan Spieth. Reuters photo
Another who played early and wants to dispute his place in the Olympics. to Casey is Ian Poulter, which after 68 on Saturday is equaled with his compatriot. The same score featured world number 1 Dustin Johnson, who got back into the fight.
Who did get back into the championship was Rory McIlroy. 10 years ago he won the US Open by 8 strokes, the first big in his career, and he is a serious candidate to celebrate again.
The one who did not do well was Fabián Gómez, who with 78 was in the last places of the table.
Later it was the turn of the leaders and by the time they were at the 9th hole, none of them had done much. The Saturday of any championship is difficult for the leaders, a lot more when they were never in this position.
They did not do badly in that first part of the round, but they were no longer seen as loose as the first days. The pressure of the US Open was beginning to be felt and the big names were looming at the top of the board. Those who had played earlier were added Rahm, DeChambeau and Oosthuizen.
South African Louis Oosthuizen. AP Photo / Gregory Bull
Russell henley had a day with ups and downs, while Richard Bland had only lows. The Englishman did not play so bad for the 77 strokes he registered, but he was very unsuccessful with his putter, he did not make a single birdie and the bogeys began to accumulate on his card.
Now he only has to have a good performance on Sunday so that the check is better and try to finish in the top 10 to earn the invite by 2022.
Henley, meanwhile, scored 4 birdies and equal number of bogeys, saved a great pair in 18 to maintain the lead and will not play in the final group on Sunday, which takes some pressure off him. There will be the Canadian Mackenzie hughes and the South African Louis Oosthuizen.
Hughes, who only won once on the tourHe had done little in the first leg, but woke up on the return landing a very long putt on 13 for eagle, very similar to the one that Tiger made on Saturday 2013; he scored two more birdies and with 68 put that -5 on the board.
Mackenzie Hughes. AP Photo / Jae C. Hong
Behind him, Oosthuizen suffered all day with a putter that did not collaborate until everything changed in the 16. The birdie there restored his confidence and in the 18th he holed from 15 meters for the eagle and with 70 he climbed to the top of the championship.
DeChambeau (68), defending champion, presented the only card of the day without bogeys to be tied with McIlroy to two of the leaders. It has a great chance to repeat, but it gives me the feeling that disaster can come at any moment.
At the speed he swings to achieve the incredible distances he hits, the slightest mistake is magnified, and that in a court like this can mean a big number that can leave him out of the fight. On Saturday he was about to have this happen to him on the 17th.
Jon Rahm was the favorite in bookmakers and the Spaniard showed great patience in the first holes when things didn’t work out. It looked like he had gotten the round on track until he stumbled over the 14th hole and ended up being 3 from the lead. Another who has a good chance on Sunday.
There are 20 players separated by 5 strokes and 8 of them have already won majors, While others they have never won a tournament on the circuit. The table is set with a perfect board to see a great outcome of this 121st edition of the US Open. A little wind would make everything even more interesting.