What do Matthew Wolff and Francis Ouimet have in common? Nothing yet, but that may be changing on Winged Foot. The extent of Wolff’s potential achievement is borne by history. Ouimet was the last player to win the US Open on his debut; 107 years ago. Freakishly also marked 1913 the last time this major was held in September. It even ended on the 20th day of the month.
“Right now I feel very confident with every single part of my game,” Wolff said. “I do not want to think about it too much and just go out there and do the same things that I have done the last three days. Right now, I just seem to be doing well. And it’s just golf.
“Even though it’s the US Open, there are a lot of things in life that are a little different right now, and in the world you can see how many things are affecting us.” Wolff’s maturity extends beyond the ropes.
His top nine out of 30 was excellent. By the final stages of his round, he had a four-stroke advantage over the course. It was reduced by the fact that Wolff did not save par at 16, but he stood strong as more famous, experienced names withered. Patrick Reed, who had the halfway lead, was clumsy over a 77.
Bryson DeChambeau tends to speak at length to himself in the middle of the round, but he seemed more annoyed than is typical in a 70. Still, it is DeChambeau who sits closest to the unstoppable Wolff. Recent history favors the older man as the 27-year-old toppled a three-shot Wolff lead while winning in Detroit in early July.
Louis Oosthuizen, who has great winning experience, came quietly out of the pack with a 68, which edged him to an under par. “I have to play pretty much the same way I did today,” Oosthuizen said when asked about his prospects of winning. “You have to hit the fairways.
“I think everyone out there now, especially on this golf course, knows that you have to be patient. A lot can happen even in the last two, three holes, so you have to try to get yourself in a position with three, four, five holes to go and see what you can do. ”
Hideki Matsuyama was two under par before the disaster hit the penultimate hole. Matsuyama fired a shot from the green side roughly into a bunker. All of this contributed to a double-bogey six. Matsuyama begins the fourth round five from Wolff’s lead.
Xander Schauffele closed out from 30 yards out eventually to tie Matsuyama. Schauffele saw Wolff “destroy” Harding Park in the final round of the US PGA. “He hits it really far,” said Schauffele of Wolff. “It simply came to our notice then. He’s not scared. Harris English later joined the level-pair party.
Rory McIlroy is not out of this tournament by any means. The Northern Irish rebound brilliantly from a second round of 76 by sending a 68.
At some point, McIlroy’s dreams of adding a fifth major title to his resume are very much alive. “If I go out there tomorrow and shoot 68 new ones, I’m not too far away,” McIlroy said. However, he admitted that the absence of galleries is a potential advantage for Wolff as he tries to create history.
“It’s a variable that you just don’t have to deal with,” McIlroy said. “It’s the loss of an advantage for you who’s used to being in that environment.”
Paul Casey admitted he had only thought about breaking 80 when he played his first seven holes in five over. The Englishman produced an astonishing back nine out of 30, meaning a 69 for a five-over unit. Dustin Johnson and Lee Westwood have the same 54-hole total.
Jon Rahm’s 76 leaves him seven. At plus four, Justin Thomas needs a drastic improvement in the fourth round plus crashes elsewhere; he shot 76 on Saturday. This score is about, it must be said, the best one can muster when playing Winged Foot almost exclusively from rough.
The mystery surrounds the actions of Danny Lee, who took nine in the 18th and duly withdrew from the event, citing a wrist injury. Maybe it was held when his score was added. Unfortunately, no footage appears from Lee’s last hole prank.