Hughes clips a cute bunker shot to six feet. A putt coming up to grab a share of the lead … though on 16, Henley will have a birdie putt of his own, having swished his 5-iron into the heart of the green, 20 feet from the flag.
Henley is unable to get up and down from the bunker at 15. Bogey, and his lead over Hughes is now just one. On 18, Hughes’s second only just gets over the water, ending up in the bunker to the left of the green. Morikawa made birdie from there earlier, so it’s not the worst place to be. And up on 16, birdie for Oosthuizen, and the leader board continues to evolve.
-5: Henley (15)
-4: Hughes (17)
-3: McIlroy (F), DeChambeau (F), Wolff (16), Oosthuizen (16)
-2: Scheffler (F), Bland (15)
Scheffler, who had wedged his third to eight feet, is left with an uphill birdie putt. He hits it confidently, but it’s always drifting a little to the left, and horseshoes out. Just a par. He signs for a 70 and goes into Sunday at -2, currently four off Henley’s lead. Then it’s Schauffele’s turn … and he misses as well. He leaves himself a tricky three footer coming back. In it goes for par, and that’s a disappointing 72. He’s still -1, though, after two disappointing days in a row, and in the mix at a major yet again.
Scheffler finds a fairway bunker with his tee shot at 18, and is forced to lay up. No such problem for Schauffele, who crashes his second over the back of the green. He’s got a tricky chip from the thick stuff, though, downhill towards water. He lobs up carefully, landing his ball softly on the green and rolling it right-to-left down the hill towards the cup. It stops four feet short, a stunning effort from where he was.
Hughes arrows his approach at 17 straight at the flag. Ten feet short. He’s one dimple’s width away from rolling the rock into the cup for birdie. He remains in second at -4. On 15, Henley cracks his drive down the right side of the fairway, then pulls a 5-iron into the sand to the left of the green. His partner Bland sends a 4-iron into the thick grass skirting the back of the putting surface. Big up-and-downs coming up.
Birdie for Scottie Scheffler at 17 first. Then it’s Schauffele’s turn. In it goes, and they’re -2 and -1 respectively. Meanwhile on 14, Henley nearly drains a long birdie effort. One inch to the right, and he’d have a three-shot lead. But pars are always good at the US Open.
-6: Henley (14)
-4: Hughes (16)
-3: McIlroy (F), DeChambeau (F), Wolff (14)
-2: Scheffler (17), Oosthuizen (14), Bland (14)
Henley isn’t making too many mistakes. His tee shot at 14 leaks into a bunker down the left, but he’s able to find the centre of the green with his second. Hughes is a couple of turns away from making a 15-foot birdie putt on 16. Up on 17, Schauffele whips his second to five feet. He’s level par right now, but if he makes that, and does something up 18, he’ll be in good nick going into tomorrow despite two bang-average days in a row.
Two putts for Bryson DeChambeau at 18. He’s not far from making his eagle putt, but it stops six inches short, and par it is. Still, that’s an excellent 68, and the defending champion will be right in the thick of it again tomorrow! Matthew Wolff, last year’s runner-up, also fancies a re-run, and does extremely well to screech a wedge close at 14, limiting the damage to bogey. Meanwhile Louis Oosthuizen can’t get up and down from greenside sand at 14 and slips backwards.
-6: Henley (13)
-4: Hughes (15)
-3: McIlroy (F), DeChambeau (F), Wolff (14)
-2: Oosthuizen (14), Bland (13)
-1: D Johnson (F), Morikawa (F), Bezuidenhout (F), Scheffler (16)
Yep, players make mistakes in the heat of battle at a US Open. Wolff sends his tee shot wide right at 14, then clips the branches of a tree with his second. The ball disappears into more thick rough. He then chunks the one coming out. Trouble here. On 13, Henley sends his second into greenside sand, and can’t get close with the splash out. No birdie at a popular par-five. And on 18, DeChambeau counts the cost of that loose lay-up, finding the green but unable to impart any spin. His ball stops 25 feet past the hole.
Rahm, running hot, races his par saver four feet past. Then misses the one coming back. He effs and jeffs in lyrical fashion, before tapping in for a double-bogey six that crashes him back to -1. Bad luck, compounded by some slapdash putting. And on 18, an error for DeChambeau, who decides to lay up … then misses the fairway with his chip out. His ball disappears into the thick stuff on the other side of the hole, and that’ll not help him to control his approach.
Morikawa gets up and down from sand at 18 for a birdie and a total of 70. He goes into the final round in red figures: -1. Justin Thomas has to settle for a 71; he’s level par. A wild drive for Rahm at 14 forces him to take some medicine by chipping back out onto the fairway; his third hits the flag, taking the spin off the ball and sending it to the back of the green. And on 18, DeChambeau pulls his drive into a bunker on the left. Big decision coming up: does he go for the green in two from there?
DeChambeau rolls carefully to tap-in distance, and he walks off 17 with a par. It’s back-to-back bogeys for Bland, though; he was always out of position on 12, and slips to -2. A two-putt birdie on the par-five 13th for Oosthuizen, who has been off his game for most of yesterday and today, but remains right in the mix at -3. And his playing partner Wolff makes birdie too, joining Hughes in second spot at -4.
Henley and Hughes take turns to get up and down from their respective tricky positions. The leading duo are up there for a reason. As is DeChambeau, who wedges high into the heart of 17, taking no chances. He’ll most likely save his par with two putts from 30 feet.
On 12, Henley can get his fairway wood to the ball, which is sitting up nicely in the filth. He whistles his second through the back of the green. He’s not far from the pin, but in more thick awfulness, so will have a tricky chip from there. On 14, Hughes can only find a greenside bunker with his second. And a huge stroke of fortune for DeChambeau on 17: his drive leaks left, takes one bounce in a penalty area, and bounds back out. He’ll still have a hard second from a thick lie, but that could have easily sailed off to the left and down a jungle-covered slope. The reigning champion allows himself a huge sigh of relief.
Hughes follows up that monster eagle putt by sending a slice into the punters down the right of 14. Henley follows his hole-out from the bunker with a flay into deep grass down the right of 12. Up on 16, DeChambeau, having sent his tee shot 15 feet short of the flag, leaves his uphill birdie effort one turn short.
Ah, here’s a better putt than that one! Mackenzie Hughes, from the fringe at the back of 13, rolls in a 60-footer for eagle! Shades of Tiger in 2008, and that’s catapulted the 30-year-old Canadian into second place! There are ten players under par at Torrey Pines. Here’s the chart rundown!
-6: Henley (11)
-4: Hughes (13)
-3: McIlroy (F), DeChambeau (15), Rahm (12), Wolff (12), Bland (11)
-2: Oosthuizen (12)
-1: Johnson (F), Scheffler (13)
Par for Brooks Koepka on 18. It’s just a level-par 71 today for the 2017 and 2018 champion, coming back in 37, and while he’s not out of it, he’ll need something super-special tomorrow. Speaking of super-special, Bland tickles a 60-foot putt down the green from the back of 10. It nearly stops halfway along, but topples slowly over the ridge, picks up speed, and stops a couple of feet from the cup. You’ll not see many better putts this week. From the ridiculous to the sublime. He tidies up to limit the damage to bogey. He’ll not feel so bad about things after that. He slips to -3, though.
Bland pulls his tee shot at 11 into the sand on the left … then blades the bunker shot over the back of the green. Compare and contrast to Henley, who finds sand on the other side … and bundles a two-bounce splash into the cup! In for birdie! What a stunning shot! Big response needed by Bland now to limit the damage. Meanwhile up on 15, DeChambeau lands his approach 12 feet from the flag, but the ball topples back down a ridge to leave a 35-foot birdie putt. That’s awful luck. He rolls up to a couple of feet and tidies up for par.
-6: Henley (11)
-4: Bland (10)
Henley wedges pin high to 15 feet at 10, but can’t make his par saver. Bland is able to get up and down from the back, though, and the gap at the top is now just one.
-5: Henley (10)
-4: Bland (10)
-3: McIlroy (F), DeChambeau (14), Rahm (11), Wolff (11)
DeChambeau rattles in his 15-foot par saver! He remains at -3, and good luck prising his fingers from the trophy. At 16, Thomas clips his 6-iron to tap-in distance, and the 2017 PGA champ will rise to level par after a period of bang-average action. Meanwhile some trouble for the leading pair at 10. Bland sends his second over the back into the thick stuff, while Henley, having found a bunker with his tee shot, catches his second heavy and ends up well short of the dancefloor. Some important short-game stuff coming right up!
Rory McIlroy trickles his monster eagle putt down the green at 18. He tidies up for birdie, and that’s a seize-the-day 67 that brings the 2011 champion into the thick of the action! The crowd reward the popular Irish star with a huge roar, and for the first time in a while, McIlroy will seriously compete at the business end of a major championship. He’s the new clubhouse leader at -3.
Another clumsy one from DeChambeau, who wedges carefully out from the greenside rough at 14. Too carefully, because his ball doesn’t get over a small ridge and begins rolling back down the green in the wrong direction. Big par putt coming up.
Bland finds the front of 9 in two. But he underhits his long eagle putt, which topples back down the slope in the middle of the green. He ends up with a three-putt par. Birdie for Henley, though, who gets up and down from sand to go two clear again. Meanwhile on 14, DeChambeau crashes a huge drive down the middle, only to pull his wedge into the thick rough surrounding the green. To be fair, he’d found his ball in a divot. And on the par-five 18th, McIlroy is on in two, albeit a long way from the flag.
-6: Henley (9)
-4: Bland (9)
DeChambeau chips up onto the 13th to eight feet, and in goes the birdie putt! At one point yesterday he was as low as +5, only to reboot and keep his title defence alive. Well, it really is alive now! He’s just two off. Meanwhile on 18, McIlroy, who could do with picking up a shot to finish Moving Day on a high, finds the fairway with a big boom off the tee. And a first birdie of the day for Rahm, who made his way straight down 10 in textbook style.
-5: Henley (8)
-4: Bland (8)
-3: DeChambeau (13), Rahm (10), Wolff (9), Oosthuizen (9)
-2: McIlroy (17), Hughes (11), Streelman (11)
-1: Johnson (F), Morikawa (14), Scheffler (11)
McIlroy steers his putt on 17 over the hump to kick-in distance. A decent par after that drive. A fairly miserable bogey for Wolff on 9, though. From the middle of the fairway, he sends his second behind a tree. He’s forced to hack out into a bunker and take his chances with an up and down. His splash out is weak, and his long par putt is a total misread. A catalogue of errors, and he’s getting a wee big agitated again. He’s -3.
McIlroy’s tee shot at 17 goes right this time. Only just off the fairway, but it disappears into the thick stuff. He whips his second onto the green, albeit nowhere near the flag, but he’d have probably taken that outcome. A tricky two putts over a hump coming up. Meanwhile on the par-five 13th, DeChambeau’s back foot slips as he drives, sending his ball into deep rough on the right. He powers his second into equally thick nonsense on the left, but he’s near the green and will be happy to work with that.
A word on Bubba Watson, who is having a shocker so far. Bogeys at 3, 6 and 7, and he’s tumbled down the standings to level par. He’s alongside Xander Schauffele, who has also been out of sorts: out in 36, and now bogey at 10. Schauffele’s playing partner Scottie Scheffler drops a shot there too, and he slips back to -1. US Opens are hard.
McIlroy fist-pumps the air again. This time it’s after splashing out from a greenside bunker at the tricky 16th, then nailing a very missable six-foot par putt. He remains in a tie for fifth.
-5: Henley (7)
-4: Wolff (8), Bland (7)
-3: Oosthuizen (8)
-2: McIlroy (16`), DeChambeau (12), Streelman (9), Rahm (8)
A birdie for Collin Morikawa at 13. He’s been quiet today, but now he’s under par for his round … and for the championship. He’s -1. Meanwhile a huge roar by Matthew Wolff, who has calmed down considerably since his hot flush on 7. He steers in a delicate 20-foot right-to-left breaker on the par-three 8th, and the birdie brings him to within a shot at -4!
A stunning chip by McIlroy on 15. He sends his fourth shot from 44 yards to four feet, and tidies up for bogey. Not ideal, but when his ball disappeared down that ravine, forcing him to drop behind trees, he’d have grabbed this outcome with two greedy hands. He’s still only three behind the lead, and fist-bumps accordingly.
-5: Henley (6)
-4: Bland (6)
-3: Wolff (7), Oosthuizen (7)
-2: McIlroy (15), DeChambeau (11), Scheffler (9), Hughes (8), Streelman (8), Rahm (8)
A sad end to Bob MacIntyre’s round. Bogey at 18, and he’s signing for a one-over 72. Still, he’s +3 for the week, currently in a tie for 33rd, and this is yet another decent showing from the young man from Oban. He’s clocking up plenty of major-championship experience.
Birdies for Scheffler and Schauffele at 9. They’re -2 and -1 respectively. Bogey for Rahm at 8; he’s -2. And on 7, Wolff briefly threatens to boil over as his second topples unluckily down a swale to the left of the green. He then overhits his chip up, as well as the one coming back. On both occasions, he batters the earth with his club. Fortunately he manages to limit the damage by rolling in a staunch 12-foot bogey putt. He slips to -3.
Henley does well to lag his long par putt to 18 inches, and limits the damage to bogey. Par for Bland, who scrambles brilliantly from the front. Up on 11, DeChambeau creams his tee shot straight at the flag, leaving an eight-footer for birdie, but he fails to hit it. Par, and he remains at -2. And on 15, McIlroy hooks an iron around the trees, and finds the fairway, 50 yards from the green. A great outcome from where he was, but he’s hit three, and a double is the most likely outcome … unless he can find a big up-and-down.
McIlroy’s ball has indeed disappeared down an embankment. It’s a penalty zone, and he’s forced to take a drop. This could get costly, because there are trees blocking the route to the green. Full punishment for what was an appalling tee shot. Back on 6, Henley is left with an uphill lie in the bunker and the face nearby. He splashes out, but gets nowhere close. He’ll be left with a 40-footer for par.
Bland misclubs coming into 6, and he’ll have to get up and down from off the front to save his par. Just a little stutter, coming after the dropped shot at 5. His partner Henley finds the rough down the right with his tee shot, then pulls his second into the bunker front left of the green. He might be up against a lip there. And up on 15, McIlroy flays a dreadful drive miles left, over the filth, past some trees, and down what appears to be a ditch. Let’s see where that’s ended up.
On 18, Dustin Johnson finds the back of the green with a big second shot, the ball briefly threatening to roll back down the slope towards the cup. It stubbornly stops, but he rolls from 30 feet to tap-in distance for birdie. That’s a 68, and at -1, the 2016 champion is the new clubhouse leader.
Russell Henley suddenly has a two-stroke lead at the top. He pars 5, but Bland had found a bunker to the right of the green, and his eight-foot attempt to save par dies off to the right. Par for McIlroy at 14, meanwhile.
-6: Henley (5)
-4: Wolff (6), Oosthuizen (6), Bland (5)
-3: McIlroy (14), Rahm (6)
-2: DeChambeau (9), Hughes (7), Streelman (7)
Im Sung-jae is in the house with a 69, as is Francesco Molinari. A 68 for Ian Poulter, and all three are currently sharing the early clubhouse lead alongside Paul Casey, at level par.
Just a par for DeChambeau on the par-five 9th. He’ll feel that, because he was in front of the green in two, but underhit his chip in, sending his ball toppling back down the ridge running across the green. He nearly makes the long birdie putt, but remains at -2.
Louis Oosthuizen gets back to -4 with birdie at 5. Meanwhile here comes McIlroy’s downhill 50-foot eagle attempt. It shaves the right-hand side of the hole and rolls four feet past. That’s a fine effort! In goes the one coming back, and that’s three birdies in four holes. He was a dimple away from making one at 11, too. This is the Rory we’ve missed at the majors for so long. Can he keep it going? Keep it going, please, Rory!
-6: Henley (4)
-5: Bland (4)
-4: Wolff (5), Oosthuizen (5)
-3: McIlroy (13), Rahm (6)
Bland very nearly drains a 20-footer from the fringe at 4 for birdie. He taps in for par. Henley however, having sent his second over the flag to six feet, makes his birdie effort and goes back into the lead on his own again. Meanwhile on the par-five 13th, McIlroy nearly slam-dunks his second from 260 yards straight into the cup! That would have been an absurd albatross! But it hits the flagstick and rolls towards the back of the green. He’ll have a long two putts for birdie. Much better luck for Rory than enjoyed by Sergio here earlier.
-6: Henley (4)
-5: Bland (4)
Looking back, it was never going to happen. Phil Mickelson winning back-to-back majors at 51, that is. He signs today for a 76 that crashes him down the leader board to a tie for 64th. Back in 40, with a double at 17. He’s +7, but he’ll always have Kiawah. Meanwhile the exciting young Italian, Guido Migliozzi, sends a tramliner into the cup at 7 to move to -1.
For the second time today, Rahm pulls a short birdie putt to the left. This one at 5 keeps him at level for his round and -3 for the tournament. Bland and Henley split the fairway at 4.
Henley can’t make his birdie putt on 3. A slightly nervous effort by a player who has been overachieving with his flat stick so far this week. Two steady putts for Bland, though, and the pair remain one clear of Wolff at -5.
Henley hits the flag at the par-three 3rd with his wedge! The ball takes one bounce, clanks against the stick, and bounds back, stopping six feet away. Meanwhile up on 10, Brooks has suddenly rediscovered his four-time major-winning mojo, raking in a 30-footer for another birdie at 10. And on 12, McIlroy, in thick nonsense to the right of 12, punches his chip into the cup! A huge smile, because all of a sudden, the 2011 champion is just three off the lead! Just look at the big names lurking here!
-5: Bland (2), Henley (2)
-4: Wolff (3)
-3: Rahm (4), Oosthuizen (3)
-2: McIlroy (12), Koepka (10), DeChambeau (7), Hughes (5), Streelman (5), Watson (4)
Henley leaves himself a 25-foot uphill putt at 2 for par. He doesn’t hit it, and hands back the shot he picked up on the opening hole. Bland opts to Todd Hamilton a fairway wood from the fringe, and taps it a hot six feet past. No matter, in goes the par saver, and he’s back in a share of the lead. And up on 7, DeChambeau makes his par putt. What an escape! He remains at -2.
-5: Bland (2), Henley (2)
-4: Wolff (3)
-3: Rahm (4), Oosthuizen (3)
-2: DeChambeau (7), Streelman (4), Watson (4)
Trouble for Bryson at 7, as he sends his drive down a bank to the side of 7. He’ll need a big break of luck there … and he doesn’t get it. He’s in a penalty area, and has to drop. But he’ll have a chance of escaping with par nevertheless, because he wedges to six feet. This’ll be one hell of a boost if he can get out of Dodge unscathed. Meanwhile up on the hardest hole on the course, the par-three 11th, McIlroy nearly steals a march on the entire field by sending his tee shot over the flag to six feet. But the putt he’s left with is still hellishly difficult, a downhill tickler with a huge right-to-left break. He nearly curls it in, but par will have to do.
Henley pulls his drive at 2 into thick oomska down the right. A terrible lie. He powers it out as best he can, but there’s no way he’s reaching the green. He gets it as far as the semi-rough, which doesn’t sound great, but is quite the result from where he was. US Open, you see. He’ll need to get up and down from distance if he’s to stay in the lead … unless his partner Bland bogeys, of course, and his second has leaked into the fringe at the back.
Some high jinks with Justin Thomas on 8. He loses his balance and falls over as he splashes out of a bunker at the front of the par-three. His ball lands 15 feet past the cup, then threatens to spin back all the way. He beckons the ball towards him by waving his club, then mimes a fishing reel. The gallery enjoyed that one. He tidies up for his par, and, as students of the previous entry will have already ascertained, remains at -1.
McIlroy is this close to holing out for eagle at 10 from 140 yards. His ball rolls an inch wide of the cup, and five feet past. He’s left with the sort of putt he so often misses, but his work with Brad Faxon is slowly bearing fruit, and he tidies up to move to -1. He’s still five off the lead, though, because on 1, Henley rolls a putt from the fringe at the back to the edge of the cup. It waits a beat before topping in, and he takes sole ownership of the lead. Birdie for Bryson at 6, too, and after a slow hour or so, plates are beginning to shift.
-6: Henley (1)
-5: Bland (1)
-4: Wolff (1)
-3: Rahm (3), Oosthuizen (1)
-2: DeChambeau (6), Hughes (3), Streelman (3), Watson (3)
-1: McIlroy (10), Thomas (8), Bezuidenhout (6), Scheffler (4), Schauffele (4)