Canada

Trio of players share 54-hole U.S. Open lead

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Russell Henley has company atop the leaderboard through three rounds of the U.S. Open and there are plenty of contenders with star power in pursuit.

Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes (68) and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen (70) used spectacular finishing stretches to move into a tie with Henley (71) on Saturday at Torrey Pines in San Diego.

They are all at 5-under-par 208 through 54 holes going into Sunday’s final round. Hughes and Oosthuizen will play in the last pairing.

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau (68) and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy (67) are lurking just two shots back in a tie for fourth place.

Henley needed a par-saving putt on the last hole, the par-5 18th, to remain a co-leader. He has called the tournament difficult, but he describes it as a fair challenge. He also has held a different perspective as a leader for much of the time.

“I’ve never played this well in a U.S. Open,” Henley said.

Hughes made his move with an eagle on the par-5 13th hole — using a putt from about 60 feet — and then was steady until a birdie on his final hole of the day at 18.

“I feel like I’ve been a pretty strong performer on the PGA Tour for the last five years, but U.S. Open is a different animal,” Hughes said.

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Yet he might have gained another degree of confidence by sinking that eagle putt.

“The charge that goes through your body when the ball goes in the hole and the crowd erupts is why we play,” Hughes said.

Oosthuizen posted an eagle on the par-5 18th hole, making a 52-foot putt for a quick climb to the front. He was 2 over for the day through 12 holes before making a move.

Still, he needed some good fortune. On the par-3 11th, his tee shot went into a bunker. His response was sinking the next shot for a birdie.

DeChambeau was without a bogey in the round, sinking three birdies. He seems to have bided his time throughout the week.

“I think staying patient is one of the most difficult things in a major championship,” DeChambeau said. “That’s one of the most difficult variables.”

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McIlroy was bogey-free other than the par-4 15th hole on his way to his lowest third-round score in U.S. Open competition.

“Some mental fortitude,” said McIlroy, the 2011 champion. “It’s the most demanding golf tournament in the world mentally. You have to keep your wits about yourself and really stay in the present. Even when I was going well, I reminded myself of that.”

Scottie Scheffler posted 70 to sit 2 under along with Matthew Wolff (73) and Spain’s Jon Rahm (72).

Dustin Johnson, who holds the No. 1 spot in the world golf rankings, shot 68 to move to 1 under for the tournament and shares ninth place with Collin Morikawa (70), Kevin Streelman (72), Xander Schauffele (72) and South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout (70).

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Second-round co-leader Richard Bland of England played the last eight holes in 5 over on his way to birdie-less 77. He’s 1 over and tied for 21st place.

Besides McIlroy, the only better score turned in Saturday was a 67 by England’s Paul Casey. England’s Ian Poulter had 68, and that duo is tied for 14th at even-par along with five others. Among that group are Italy’s Francesco Molinari (69) and South Korea’s Sungjae Im (69).

PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson won’t claim a second consecutive major tournament title after slipping to a tie for 63rd by shooting 76.

There were only 17 under-par scores Saturday out of the 71 golfers who made the cut.

–Field Level Media

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