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AS IT STANDS -5 Matthew Wolff; -3 Bryson DeChambeau; -1 Louis Oosthuizen; E Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele, Harris English; +1 Rory McIlroy; +2 Zach Johnson, Viktor Hovland, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Alex Noren. SELECTED OTHERS +3 Patrick Reed; +4 Justin Thomas; +5 Dustin Johnson; +7 Jon Rahm; +12 Robert MacIntyre

Matthew Wolff is making this major malarkey look much too easy.

After finishing in a tie for fourth on his debut in golf’s marquee events at last month’s US PGA, the 21-year-old American goes into the final round of the US Open on five-under-par and holding a two-shot advantage over nearest challenger Bryson DeChambeau.

Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen is two shots further back in third, with Hideki Matsuyama, Harris English and Xander Schauffele currently level-par and tied for fourth. 

They, along with Rory McIlroy (+1), Zach Johnson (+2) and everybody else, are currently looking up at Wolff, the youngest 54-hole leader in the US Open since Jim Simons in 1971 and a man who only turned professional the week before the most recent edition of the championship at Pebble Beach in June 2019.

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Seal the deal and the the Californian will become the youngest major winner since Tiger Woods won The Masters in 1997 and the first player to win the US Open on his debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913

Ouimet, incidentally, won on September 20 that year.

Fate, perhaps?

Wolff isn’t thinking about such things. Instead, he’s focusing solely on the task at hand.

“I’m going to try to keep my nerves as calm as they can be and not really try to think about it,” he said. “I put myself in a really good spot. I did everything that I could do up until this point and tomorrow I’m going to go out there, try my best, and if I come out on top or not, it is what it is.”

That the world No.36 holds the lead in ‘Golf’s Toughest Test’ is all the more impressive considering he has hit just 12 fairways in the first 54 holes. 

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Lesser players might be spooked by that startling stat and go digging for answers in the driving range dirt. 

Not Wolff.

“Right now I’m just looking to go have a good time,” he said. “It’s just golf. Even though it is 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.

“My agent, John, is struggling right now with his health, and I’ve been thinking about him a lot out there. He doesn’t want anyone to feel bad for him but it just puts things in perspective. I’m going to go out there, try to make him proud and go have a good time.”

Bryson lurking…

Like Wolff, Bryson DeChambeau is looking to become a major champion for the first time. 

A sloppy bogey at the last gave his fellow Californian the luxury of an extra shot cushion but, despite that, the six-time PGA Tour winner remains optimistic about his prospects of leaving Winged Foot with the silverware in tow.

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“The round today was a huge battle,” said DeChambeau. “I was proud of the way I persevered out there. It was difficult. Especially when you’re not hitting it straight in the fairway. For me, it felt like I kept myself in it, scrambled really well.

“I am excited to be in this position for sure. There’s no better place to be.”

DeChambeau’s delight was in 180-degree contrast to the disappointment of his playing partner and 36-hole leader Patrick Reed. 

The former Masters champion slumped to a surprising 77, to lie three-over and in a tie for 11th going into the final round.

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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