Sunday, 16 June 2019
Gary Woodland  (Getty Images)
Gary Woodland (Getty Images)

Gary Woodland will head into the final round of the U.S. Open Championship one shot ahead of Justin Rose after an enthralling third day at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

The playing partners matched each other blow for blow on the California coast but a closing birdie from the Englishman saw him card a 68 to sit at ten under, one back of his rival who signed for a 69.

Rose triumphed at this event in 2013 and while he has won many things including an Olympic gold medal and two Rolex Series titles since then, he has long spoken of his desire to be a multiple Major Champion.

The duo will not have the stage to themselves on Sunday, however, with two time defending champion Brooks Koepka, 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and American Chez Reavie all at seven under.

Rory McIlroy is searching for a fifth Major win and he was at six under, a shot clear of Americans Chesson Hadley and Matt Kuchar.

Since his emotional triumph at Merion Golf Club six years ago, Rose has three runner up finishes and seven other tops tens in golf's four biggest events, and a second win at last would give him a 12th European Tour win.

"Today wasn’t perfect but my short game kept me in it," he said. "I pulled off some clutch shots too. 

"I had five birdies today, that gives you a bit of leeway to make a mistake but I think tomorrow we might see a course that isn’t as gentle as we’ve seen this week. 

"So with the course that has the ability to firm up and trickier pins, I’m preparing for all eventualities. I can’t wait to see the pins in the morning and make a plan."

It took Woodland 28 attempts to achieve a top ten in a Major but he now has two in his last three as he looks for a first win.

"I'll be rested for tomorrow," he said. "I'm comfortable with my game, I'm playing good. We're at Pebble Beach for the U.S. Open, it should be exciting.

"I'm in a good spot. You come here with intentions to play to win and give yourself a chance and I've done that through 54 holes. We've got to get ready in the morning, have fun, come out with an attitude and see what happens."

Rose nearly drove the fourth and got up and down for a birdie but Woodland also made a gain after spinning his approach inside three feet.

A Rose bogey on the next after failing to get up and down from a bunker handed Woodland a three shot lead and when he took advantage of the par five sixth, the 35-year-old was four ahead.

I can’t wait to see the pins in the morning and make a plan - Justin Rose

Woodland three putted the eighth with Rose making a birdie from ten feet in a two shot swing, but Woodland put an approach to three feet on the 11th for another gain.

That would prove to be his final birdie of the day and it was spectacular par saves that became the story of his back nine.

He found a horrible lie on the par three 12th and missed the green with his second but chipped in to put the pressure on Rose, who made his birdie from nine feet but gave the shot back on the next.

Woodland left himself 40 feet for par on the 14th but made the putt for another remarkable save as Rose birdied with a left to righter from the fringe.

The leader missed a good birdie chance on the last and when Rose holed from ten feet, he was back within one for the first time since day two.

Koepka was bogey free in a 68, taking advantage of the sixth, holing a 27 foot putt on the next and hitting an excellent approach into the tenth, while he also chipped in for par at the 15th.

South African Oosthuizen was two over for his round stood on the 15th tee but rattled off a hat-trick of birdies to sign for a 71, two more shots than Reavie, who made four birdies and a bogey.

McIlroy made three birdies and a bogey, while Kuchar and Hadley both signed for rounds of 70.

Danny Willett carded his first ever sub 70 round at the U.S. Open with a 67 to sit at four under alongside 2010 champion Graeme McDowell, Jon Rahm, Henrik Stenson and Matt Wallace.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
2KOEPKA, BrooksUSA18-10
T3RAHM, JonESP18-7
T3ROSE, JustinENG18-7

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