Matthew Wolff carded a brilliant round of 65 to take a two shot lead into the final round of the 2020 U.S. Open Championship but a host of seasoned winners were chasing him down at Winged Foot Golf Club.
The 21-year-old is playing just his second Major this week but looked very much at home after securing a top five at last month's US PGA Championship.
A triumph on Sunday would make him the youngest winner of one of golf's four biggest events since Tiger Woods at the Masters Tournament in 1997, and it would be the fourth consecutive Major to have a first time winner.
The American's five under total left him two shots ahead of countryman Bryson DeChambeau, with South Africa's 2010 Open Championship winner Louis Oosthuizen the only other player under par at one under.
Between them the top ten have won six Major Championships and six World Golf Championships - with none of them belonging to the top two - but U.S. Open debutant Wolff refused to be daunted.
"It's golf, anything can happen, especially at a course like this," he said. "I know if I keep calm and not let my emotions get the best of me, I should have a really good chance.
"I go out there and I play my game. There's a lot of holes out there that maybe people would try to hit it in the fairway or maybe take the safe play because it is a U.S. Open and they know that pars are a good score, but I don't really like to think of it that way.
"I like to go out there and do what I feel comfortable with, rip dog and see how it goes from there. I feel comfortable with every part of my game so I don't like to shy away from things when I'm feeling confident, and I'm probably going to do the same tomorrow."
Overnight leader Patrick Reed set up a birdie from 13 feet on the second and led by three but Wolff was producing a remarkable front nine to reel him in.
He holed from 14 feet on the first and a slippery putt from similar distance on the fourth edged him up the leaderboard.
I feel comfortable with every part of my game so I don't like to shy away from things when I'm feeling confident, and I'm probably going to do the same tomorrow
Reed failed to get up and down on the par three third and when Wolff did so from the sand for a birdie on the driveable par four sixth and then put his tee shot to 13 feet on the next, the lead was shared.
The 2018 Masters Champion hit a wonderful shot into the fourth to regain the lead but gave the shot back on the next, and when Wolff made a two putt birdie on the par five ninth, he turned in 30 and the lead had changed hands.
Reed played a deft chip from the fringe on the ninth to get back into a share of the lead but he came home in 43 with six bogeys and a double to tumble down the leaderboard.
Wolff dropped a shot on the 16th but regained it after getting a fortunate bounce off the tee on the last, and DeChambeau emerged as his nearest challenger.
The 2019 Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner had made a bogey-bogey start but he picked up shots on the seventh, 16th and 17th before bogeying the last.
Louis Oosthuizen's Major record includes:— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) September 19, 2020
🏆 2010 Open Champion
🥈 Runner-up 2012 Masters
🥈 Runner-up 2015 Open Championship
🥈 Runner-up 2015 US Open
🥈 Runner-up 2017 PGA Championship#USOpen pic.twitter.com/7LMkp7XiF2
Oosthuizen hit an excellent approach into the fifth to turn in 34 and while he dropped shots on the tenth and 16th, he holed a lengthy putt on the 11th and hit two more wonderful second shots into the 14th and 17th.
"I need to play pretty similar to what I did today," he said of his path to potential victory. "You need to hit fairways. I think everyone out there now, especially on this golf course, knows you need to be patient.
"A lot can happen even in the last two, three holes, so try and get yourself in a position with three, four, five holes to go and see what you can do. I just need to go out and play some good golf tomorrow."
Matsuyama and Schauffele both carded rounds of 70, while English carded a 72.
Northern Irishman McIlroy was in confident mood after a 68, a score matched by Johnson, with Spaniard Cabrera Bello getting round in 74 and Norway's Hovland recording a 70.