The 54-hole leader is Gary Woodland, the 35-year-old Kansas native who has never won a major nor played in the final group on Sunday. The three-time PGA Tour winner escaped a few potential disastrous holes on Saturday to post a 2-under-par 69 for a three-round total of 11-under 202.
There are several experienced operators ready to make a Sunday charge, including seven major champions within seven strokes of the lead. The closest pursuer is former world No. 1 and 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, who was in Saturday’s final pairing with Woodland. Behind a gritty short game, Rose will begin the final round one shot back after a 3-under 68.
Lurking four shots behind are two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka (7-under 206) and Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, who is looking to join Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to have won majors at both Pebble Beach and the Old Course at St. Andrews. The South African birdied three straight holes from No. 15 to post a 1-under 70.
Five strokes back is 2011 U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy, fresh off his victory a week ago in the Canadian Open, where he shot a final-round 61. Three more major winners – Graeme McDowell (2010 U.S. Open at Pebble), Danny Willett (2016 Masters) and Henrik Stenson (2016 Open Championship) – are seven back at 4-under 209.
And Tiger Woods? “I got off to an awful start, and clawed it around, but still gave myself a chance for tomorrow, which is positive. And we’ll see what the weather forecast is for tomorrow. There are a lot of guys ahead of me right now” he said after an even-par 71 for a 54-hole total of 213. USGA/PPH