Ranking: Matthew Wolff (-5), Bryson DeChambeau (-3), Louis Oosthuizen (-1), Xander Schauffele (E), Hideki Matsuyama (E), Harris English (E)
What this means: Wolff started the day with four headers but soared in the standings with five birdies on his first nine holes while the rest of the leaders struggled to save par. At just 21, he made his US Open debut and only played in his second major career. Wolff took a share of the lead at the turn and quickly built up a three-stroke cushion. He is now in a position to become the first to win a first match at the US Open since Francis Ouimet in 1913 and to become the youngest big winner since Tiger Woods, 21, at the 1997 Masters. But the margin is not that’s two after DeChambeau played his last three holes in 1 to stay on hand as he seeks a major breakthrough on his own.
US Open: open field scores | Full coverage
Tour of the day: Wolff channeled Phil Mickelson’s memories of 2006, but this time there were no hospitality tents involved. The former Oklahoma state star only hit two of 14 fairways, but scrambled from various corners of the course, becoming 5 under 30 and hanging onto his life. He capped a round of 5 under 65 with a 10-foot birdie at number 18, his sixth of the day, tying Justin Thomas for the low round of the week and the lowest score ever at a US Winged Foot Open.
The best of the rest: Alex Noren came out early and showed the leaders that there was, in fact, a score to be had in the West Course on Saturday. The Swede took a big leap up the standings with a 3 under 67, his best of the week by five shots and one that for a moment looked like it would be the low round of the day. Noren made the cut on the number at 6 over, but after carding four birdies against a bogey, he will head to the final round in a tie for 11th at 3 over, eight shots behind Wolff.
The biggest disappointment: Reed appeared on cruise control after the first two birdies, increasing his lead from one shot to three. But it all fell apart for the former Masters champion in the last nine games, as he carded an inside 43 after playing No 10-15 in 6 plus. Reed held the lead at the halfway point thanks in large part to his scorching short game, but after a 7 of 77 he’s now facing an eight-stroke deficit. Honorable mention here goes to a pair of former World No.1s, as Justin Thomas (+4) and Jon Rahm (+7) both disappeared from the competition after matching 76 rounds.
Main storyline as Sunday approaches: All eyes will be on Wolff, who will look to follow former contemporary collin Collin Morikawa by capturing a major in his second major start and with no fans present. As Morikawa came in from behind at TPC Harding Park, Wolff will have a target on his back for the entire final round with DeChambeau on the long shot just two shots back and accomplished players like Oosthuizen and ScHotele still on hand. Oh, and don’t sleep on Rory McIlroy, who trails by six to 1 after a third round of 68 as he seeks to win a major for the first time since 2014. Wolff claimed his first PGA Tour victory. last summer at 3M Open, but he’s about to enter a different situation than any he’s encountered so far in his fledgling professional career.
Plan of the day: After getting a lucky bounce off the first rough, Wolff hit the target with his final approach shot 207 yards away, nestled 10 feet away. He rolled calmly into the putt to cap off the lowest round of the day of two strokes and secure pole position before the final round.
Quote of the day: “Just being in the lead and knowing what it’s like to sleep in the lead, I feel like I’m going to go back a bit. – Wolff, who had a three-shot lead over 54 holes at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in June, but ultimately finished second, three strokes behind DeChambeau.