Justin Rose trails Gary Woodland by a single shot heading into the final round of the US Open after watching the American defy the odds to remain in pole position at Pebble Beach.
Woodland chipped in for an unlikely par on the 12th and holed from 40 feet for another on the 14th, but Rose maintained his focus to birdie both holes as he seeks a second US Open title following his 2013 triumph at Merion.
Rose also birdied the 18th from a greenside bunker for the third day running to complete a 68 and finish 10 under par, with Woodland 11 under after carding three birdies and a solitary bogey in his 69.
“What I was pleased about was the tougher the shot, the better I seemed to play, and I’ll gain a bit of confidence from that tomorrow,” Rose said.
“I’ll do everything I can overnight and just keep what’s working well and try to hit one or two more fairways and greens. You can’t force it, you’ve got to let it happen and hopefully rely on some experience.”
World number one Brooks Koepka, who is aiming to become just the second player to win three consecutive US Open titles, is four shots off the lead alongside former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and American Chez Reavie, with Rory McIlroy another stroke back.
“Going into tomorrow, just stay patient. If you are within three shots on the back nine, anything can happen, so hang in there and keep fighting.”
McIlroy had wanted to plot a “boring” course to a second US Open title and got largely what he wished for, carding three birdies and two bogeys in a round of 70.
“Even though I’m still a few off the lead, it’s a wonderful opportunity for me to go out there and I guess try to add to my major tally,” said the Northern Irishman, whose last major victory was the 2014 US PGA Championship.
“I’ve been very pleased with how I’ve played all week. I felt, for the most part, today I did the right things and I need to do 18 more holes of that, but just get a little bit more out of the round tomorrow than I did today.
“I’m expecting the conditions to be similar, but I could see the course just getting a little firmer and a little faster and just being a touch trickier.”
The European quintet of Danny Willett, 2010 champion Graeme McDowell, Jon Rahm, Matt Wallace and Henrik Stenson are seven shots off the lead on four under.
Willett had set the early clubhouse target on four under, the former Masters champion carding six birdies and two bogeys in a round of 67, the lowest round of the day and his first sub-par round in 16 attempts at the US Open.
“The last few years the US Open has been a bombers’ paradise so this course evens out the field in that way,” Willett said.
“It does not favour any one type of player, so at the end of the week you are going to get the best player winning, as it should be.”
McDowell, who eagled the 18th from 35 feet in his round of 70, said: “It was really cool to make three there.
“I think Tiger (Woods) did something similar in 2010, from memory, hitting that three-wood from behind the tree. Mine wasn’t as fancy as that. It was a nice little cutty three-wood from 245 slightly to the right and came off nicely.
“Obviously I’m somewhat in the mix tomorrow, but I’ll need something pretty special.”
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