A first wobble from Wolff, which horribly distorts his tee shot on the third. He’ll need something special to avoid dropping a shot here… but he might have found it, drilling his second through the trees and finding the green. He had the courage to take it on. DeChambeau also in a deranged spot, but deliciously rough crisps a few feet away.
Wolff and DeChambeau, two big producers of premium wines and wines, tackle the second hole. The two find the fairway and lie down on either side of the green. The two roll up to one foot on a plate of green glass and do what is necessary to reach par. They seem to be playing a different course than everyone else right now.
McIlroy gets in an excellent position on his tee shot in the fourth, but hits it with an unfortunate approach shot that drifts to the left and falls short of the green. It ended up costing him another hit, and he came out at +4, nine Wolff hits and almost out of the run.
18 h 50
On an opening hole that gave the chasing pack so much trouble, Wolff and DeChambeau both found the heart of the green with their second shots! The leader is a few yards further south, and two putts for an opening par. Can Bryson put some pressure on? He takes a four foot … sent wide to the left.
McIlroy cleans up the second, to the cheers of the few fans gathered behind the Winged Foot fence. Zach Johnson lies down from a bunker and watches his ball descend mercilessly, far from the hole. He opts against the full Danny Lee, saving a bogey instead.
Double bogey pour Matsuyama, who can’t recover from a bad tee shot. A third double at first in quick succession after McIlroy and English. Oosthuizen drains a ten foot par to stay at -1 and keep the lead pair from getting too comfortable.
“Niall evening.” Good evening, Simon McMahon. “Po ‘Danny Lee (see 17.25). Golf, eh? Bloody hell. Which of you is Danny Lee? I am Danny Lee. Safe to say, one way or another, we’ve all been there.
Here is our leading pair! Bryson DeChambeau start two shots behind Matthew Wolff, and detonates his forehand tee shot like an arrow, down the fairway. A good start is so important to the overnight leader… and he understands, that dry, fast swing provides the perfect opening workout.
They finally found the Harris English bullet! Alas, it’s well outside the three-minute time limit, and the Englishman is already busy wiping a double bogey. ScHotele takes a par, a good effort given the scenes that unfold around him.
What if you thought it was a bad start … Harris English is unable to locate his big rough ball the first, and will have to tee off for his second shot. This means that Oosthuizen and Matsuyama are waiting to start their round. The Englishman’s first effort was not off track; if the fans were there, someone would have seen him land.
McIlroy’s second shot on the first takes him to the edge of the green; the problem is that the green is the size of an overflow parking lot and must play uphill and downwind. His putt is under-hit and rolls back downhill. He ends up with a tricky six-footer just to save Bogey – and misses. Double bogey pour McIlroy, and a hammer blow to his hopes.
Matthew Wolff is at the driving range, fiddling with his phone and trying not to appear disturbed. At first, Viktor Hovland plays in a bunker and misses the cut by a few inches – but folds for par.
McIlroy feeds his tee shot straight down the middle of the fairway. Johnson is not doing so well, sending his efforts, far to the left.
For those of you wondering why there haven’t been updates from Rory McIlroy: he hasn’t started yet. Departure in five minutes, alongside Zach Johnson. Reed bugged the second and came back to +3.
Patrick ReedSaturday’s back-nine collapse saw him give up eight shots and seemingly fall out of action – but he birdied the first today to return to +2. A heartwarming return for the brave Texan?
Start times of the final round