Gary Woodland leads US Open, but four major champions are lurking

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Nothing afflicted Gary Woodland.

Now no longer the burden of playing with the lead within the 1/3 spherical of the U.S. Originate. Now no longer the unrelenting stress utilized by a lot of the game’s perfect avid gamers chasing him, especially playing accomplice Justin Rose. Now no longer the aggregate of issues that dished up a cloudy, chilly day at Pebble Beach.

And it indubitably helped regular the nerves when he survived a three-gap stretch of adversity by chipping in from eleven yards to keep par on the 12th, getting up-and-down for par on the Thirteenth and making a Forty three-footer for par on the 14th.

All over an emotional 4-hour rollercoaster, Woodland used to be as rock-solid as the seaside cliffs holding Pebble Beach from the ocean and also can merely sleep on the lead all all over again within the nationwide championship. Woodland carved out a 2-beneath-par sixty 9 to face at eleven beneath thru fifty four holes and leads Rose, who birdied the final, by one shot.

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“I feel in actuality overjoyed with my game,” talked about Woodland, who added that he walked slower at cases and steadied his emotions with deep breaths at other cases finally of the spherical. “The golf direction is in sizable form and I worship the diagram it suits my discover about, so I’m inflamed to be where I’m at.”

Brooks Koepka, attempting to modified into handsome the 2d player to pick the U.S. Originate three consecutive cases, is 4 befriend at 7 beneath alongside with Louis Oosthuizen and Chez Reavie. Rory McIlroy, searching for his first foremost since 2014, is in sixth at 6 beneath.

Looking his first foremost title, Woodland took a 2-shot lead to the foremost tee and at one point extended his profit to 4 after birdies on the fourth and sixth. But a bogey on the eighth, coupled with a birdie from Rose, sliced the profit in half of. From there, Woodland didn’t make one other bogey and added a birdie on the eleventh.

“I felt perfect all day,” talked about Woodland, who has three PGA Tour titles. “I felt sizable in actuality from the commence. I had a positive warmup. I felt overjoyed going to the foremost tee. I know what it takes to pick. And my game is in a massive procure 22 situation. I’m at a handsome golf direction. I came right here to pick, and that’s what we’re going out to invent tomorrow.”

Rose, the 2013 U.S. Originate champion, has one-putted extra than half of the holes he’s performed thru three rounds and had handsome 23 putts on Saturday. He made a 9-foot birdie on the 12th after Woodland saved par, made a 13-footer for birdie on 14 after Woodland saved par and carried out with an eleven-foot birdie on the final.

“I’m indubitably finding out the greens neatly,” Rose talked about. “It used to be a fun day. I’ve saved pretty a lot of pars with sizable putts. And Gary had a few immense par saves on the befriend 9. That’s why we’re on the tip.

Justin Rose performs a shot from beneath the tree on the 18th gap finally of the 1/3 spherical of the 2019 U.S. Originate. Photograph: Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports actions

“I’m in a massive notify. One befriend affords me the freedom to feel worship I’ve got all the pieces to discover, nothing to lose. I’m shut ample that I in actuality need to invent my concept, invent my spherical of golf, be disciplined.”

Koepka, the area No. 1 who’s won 4 of the final eight majors he’s performed and is the handiest player in history to befriend befriend-to-befriend titles in two majors concurrently, is serene in notify to affix Willie Anderson as the handiest avid gamers to pick the U.S. Originate in three consecutive years. Koepka saved his three-peat alive with a bogey-free sixty eight.

“I feel worship if I can handsome make about a putts, I feel worship I could be handsome there, handsome subsequent to Gary,” Koepka talked about. “And it’s been very shut. I’m fully contented how I’m playing. I’m fully contented how I’m striking the ball.

“And I feel as confident as ever handsome now. It’s presumably the correct ball-striking week I’ve had. Pebble’s greens are so minute. I mediate I handiest overlooked one inexperienced this present day, maybe two, I don’t know, if I was within the fringe or something. But to hit as many greens as I in actuality delight in the final two days, the ball-striking is handsome where I desire it.”

Woodland talked about every phase of his game is handsome where he desires it, especially his psychological notify. His first stumble on with ability anguish came on the 12th gap, when his tee shot on the par-3, which he belief used to be perfect, came up quick in thick rough. From an awkward lie – the ball used to be above his knees – Woodland shanked his chip. No field. He chipped in from eleven yards to keep par.

Gary Woodland reacts after missing a putt on the 18th inexperienced finally of the 1/3 spherical of the 2019 U.S. Originate. Photograph: Michael Madrid/USA TODAY Sports actions

On the next gap, he saved par with a textbook up-and-down from in front of the inexperienced. Then on the 14th, he slipped hitting his tee shot and harm up within the rough. The lie used to be so thick, his club zigzag handsome earlier than impact that despatched his 2d into the rough all all over again. From there he could handiest advance the ball to 60 yards quick of the inexperienced. After pitching to Forty three toes, he drained the putt.

Now he’s 18 holes from foremost championship glory and is aware of he’ll need to befriend his accomplish and composure to befriend it collectively and befriend off the chasers.

“I know if I play my game and play worship the methodology I’ve been playing, the fellows from within the befriend of me are going to need to invent something in actuality, in actuality particular,” Woodland talked about. “So, I’m going to exit, close interior myself, stick to my game concept and test out to elongate that lead extra than the rest. I don’t need to alternate the rest. It’s extra of enjoying the moment.”

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