US Open Golf: 2019 The toughest test in this U.S. Open might be more about nerves from chasing history than Pebble Beach. Gary Woodland held it together Saturday with bold plays and two unlikely pars for a 2-under 69, giving him a one-shot lead over Justin Rose and his first appearance in the final group on the last day of a major.
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Lurking is Brooks Koepka, who played bogey-free for a 68 to give himself a shot at a record that has stood for 114 years as he tries to join Willie Anderson with a third straight U.S. Open title.
Rose was right where he wanted to be after working more short-game magic from bunkers and thick grass and awkward spots around greens that were getting a little firmer and faster, even under another day of thick marine layer that has blanketed the Monterey Peninsula all week. He has 34 one-putt greens through 54 holes, the last one an up-and-down from the bunker for birdie on the par-5 18th for a 68 that put him in the final group.
“One back gives me the freedom to feel like I’ve got everything to gain, nothing to lose,” said Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion at Merion. “I’m not chasing, really. I’m so close to Gary that I have to go out and play my game tomorrow.”
Brooks Koepka thinks he can win because no one has been winning majors like him in the last two years. He played bogey-free for a 68, settling for par when he made a bold attempt to slash a fairway metal around a cypress on the 18th hole. Four shots behind is close enough for Koepka to have a shot at a record that has stood for 114 years as he tries to join Willie Anderson with a third straight U.S. Open title.
“I feel as confident as ever right now,” said Koepka, words that carry a little more weight from a guy who has won four of his last eight majors.
Standing in the way of all of them is Pebble Beach, a strong enough test that has been missing strong wind, its best defense. The final hour of the third round gave a glimpse of possibilities, how fortunes can change quickly.
Woodland twice looked as though he were about to lose two shots or more of his lead until chipping in from 35 feet on the par-3 12th hole, and holing a par putt from just over 40 feet on the par-5 14th.