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US Open golf 2023: final round – live | US Open


Key events

Hello, hello. Eckroat has drained a 23-foot eagle putt at the 8th and he is suddenly tied eighth in the US Open! He’s -6 through eight holes and -4 for the tournament.

Excellent point from Henni Koyack on commentary: the late starters – many of them at least – will be watching this early action on TVs in the clubhouse, in the gym or while dining.

How have the leading contenders fared in past US Open final rounds? I’ve had a little look. (Bear in mind that this day is as tough as it gets in golf, so many scores in the 70s are to be expected.)

Rickie Fowler: 1-for-8 at breaking 72 in the final round and the exception was remarkable – a 65 in 2018 that came after an 84 in the third round. (What about when starting the final round in the top five? 72-72)

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Wyndham Clark: fresh ground. (n/a)

Rory McIlroy: nine final rounds and he’s feast or famine: four sub-70s and five failures to break 72. (69-73)

Scottie Scheffler: trending? 73 in his first, 72 in his second, 67 last year. (67)

Harris English: sneakily he has plenty of experience because he’s 7-for-7 at making the cut in this championship. That’s the good news. The bad is that he’s 1-for-7 at breaking 72. He did post a 68 in 2021 but three times he hasn’t broken 76. (73)

Hello everyone. What a prospect we have in store: a high quality leaderboard, a front nine full of opportunities and a back nine to sift the chancers from the champions. Thanks for joining us for the ride!

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Dave mentioned that there’s a charge going on and Austin Eckroat is the man doing it. He’s ticked four birdies in seven holes and has the par-five 8th to come. He’s -4 for the round, -2 for the week and on the verge of breaking the top 10.

To see what Smith can get up to on the inward nine, I’ll hand you over to Matt. He’ll also bring you a leaderboard charge being made elsewhere.

Take a bow Jordan Smith. He birdies the 9th hole and that’s a McIlroy-esque (Rory did this for the first two rounds) outward half of five-under 30. The eagle and three birdies have moved Smith all the way up to tied 22nd.

A good sign for Rory. And one in the face for the bloke who doubted McIlroy.

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A take from golf podcaster Andy Lack, who is on the grounds of Los Angeles Country Club.

They watered the course more than I would have hoped for last night & Big time Marine layer this AM & course is still playing almost *five* strokes over par because the USGA finally decided to utilize some spicier pins. Really interested to see how this plays out for the leaders

— Andy Lack (@adplacksports) June 18, 2023

Good starts for three big-name Europeans. Sergio Garcia (after 3), Tommy Fleetwood (2) and Jon Rahm (1) are all 1-under for their rounds and +1 overall. But tied 34th on day four of a major is not what they had planned at the start of the week.

Jordan Smith’s golden start continues as he follows his eagle at 2 with birdie at 3. In fact, he came within a foot or so of holing out again. He’s -4 for the day after just 6 holes and up to tied 33rd. Here’s that hole-out eagle and his theatrical reaction.

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If you fancy someone from the chasing pack to win, a giant statistics foot will crush those thoughts into a thousand pieces.

Hear this: 48 of the last 49 US Open winners were within four shots heading into the final round. That includes each of the last 24. If that’s the case, those bolded up are the only ones with a chance today.

-10: W Clark, R Fowler
-9: R McIlroy
-7: S Scheffler
-6: H English

-5: D Johnson, X Schauffele
-4: R Nagano
-3: T Kim, B DeChambeau, C Smith

Nick Hardy could sell his start to the leaders. The American, who won the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans pairs event alongside Davis Riley in April, has opened birdie-par-birdie-par to advance to +2 and tied 40th. Back at 1, Sergio Garcia has scribbled in an opening birdie to climb to +1 and tied 32nd.

Up ahead, Ishikawa’s round is highlighting the difference in the two nines. The Japanese was first man out today and reached the turn in 1-under. He started the back nine with another birdie but has since bogeyed 11, 13 and 14 to drop to 63rd of the 65 players who made the cut.

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A check of the weather forecast today shows sunshine coming out soon for the rest of the day. Winds will pick up to about 10-11mph around 1pm and then die a little. Temperatures are a very pleasant 80 degrees.

Jordan Smith is wearing a sunshine smile right now after holing his approach from 171 yards at the 480-yard par-4 5th for eagle! Smith doesn’t realise at first as he sets off down the fairway but the Englishman hears a few roars (yes, there are a few people out there at least), has a moment of realisation as to what they could mean and punches the air in triumph. What a great way to jump back to +2. Smith is now -3 for his round.

American Gordon Sargent, a 20-year-old from Alabama, is leading the race to finish as Leading Amateur. He’s currently +6 after 4. His three rivals for that accolade are all struggling in round four. Aldrich Potgieter from South Africa is +9 overall (+3 after 7 today) while Ben Carr sits at +10 (+3 today after 8) and Maxwell Moldovan at +14 (+6 after 9 today).

Talking of Patrick Reed, he’s reached the turn in 1-under 34 after wiping out a bogey at 5 with birdies at 6 and 8. He’s not been a factor this week though and is currently tied 58th.

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England’s Jordan Smith is one of the other three players under par for the day. He’s made par at 1 and 2, birdied 3 and has around 20 feet for another red circle at 4. Smith finished a hugely promising tied ninth in his very first major, the 2017 US PGA at Quail Hollow. But since then: four missed cuts and tied 47th. It’s encouraging to get four rounds under his belt here and Smith, currently in a tie for 48th, will hope he can perhaps get into the top 25 or 30 with a good round today.

It’s been widely noted how muted the atmosphere has been at LA Country Club this week compared to other US Opens. A west coast v east coast different vibe/culture sort of thing? Or just modern-day realities? Give me New York hecklers shouting “Reed, you fucking ass”, “screw you Cantlay” etc for poor shots that have ruined side bets.

Details on LACC tickets. 23,000 for sale to the general public—but 14,000 of those were for hospitality. Those are very expensive. Only 9,000 GA warriors. These are the people that bring the energy, the atmosphere. And that’s just a shockingly low number. The corporate Open.

— Dan Rapaport (@Daniel_Rapaport) June 18, 2023

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Of those 17 players dotted around the course, only Ryo Ishikawa is under par for the day. He’s birdied 4, 8 and 10 (bogeyed 7). The Japanese golfer is playing solo today due to the uneven number of players who made the cut. Ishikawa is 31 now having once been billed a teenage phenom. I remember those days at Open Championships when he was followed everywhere by a huge contingent of Japanese cameramen and reporters. Every word he said was scrutinised in great detail even though mostly he said nothing. This is Ishikawa’s 24th major and his only top 20 (tied 20th) came at the 2011 Masters. He was also 30th in that year’s US Open at Congressional, the one won by Rory McIlroy. Good to see him back and playing majors golf on the weekend again.

Let’s go to the course and check the early scores on the doors. I’ve just done some fingers and toes counting and by reckoning there are 17 players out on the course (how many toes do I have exactly?) and they’re a combined 8 over par. Not easy then.

Ewan Murray is at LA Country Club. Here’s his report from round three and what today holds in store.

Good news, the final two-ball tees off a full one hour and 10 minutes earlier than yesterday. So that’ll be, erm, still bloody late if you’re in the UK.

Starting at hole one (all times BST)

* denotes amateur

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16:23 Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn)
16:34 Patrick Reed (US), Jacob Solomon (US)
16:45 Adam Svensson (Can), Maxwell Moldovan (US)
16:56 Ben Carr (US*), David Puig (Spa)
17:07 Romain Langasque (Fra), Aldrich Potgieter (SA*)
17:18 Abraham Ancer (Mex), Adam Hadwin (Can)
17:29 Ryan Gerard (US), Mackenzie Hughes (Can)
17:40 Yuto Katsuragawa (Jpn), Gordon Sargent (US*)
17:51 Sam Bennett (US), Jordan Smith (Eng)
18:07 Nick Hardy (US), Sebastian Munoz (Col)
18:18 Charley Hoffman (US), Sahith Theegala (US)
18:29 Austin Eckroat (US), Andrew Putnam (US)
18:40 Sergio Garcia (Spa), Kevin Streelman (US)
18:51 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Samuel Stevens (US)
19:02 Jon Rahm (Spa), Dylan Wu (US)
19:13 Denny McCarthy (US), Gary Woodland (US)
19:24 Billy Horschel (US), Patrick Rodgers (US)
19:35 Ryan Fox (NZ), Brian Harman (US)
19:51 Justin Suh (US), Eric Cole (US)
20:02 Sam Burns (US), Keith Mitchell (US)
20:13 Si-Woo Kim (Kor), Joaquin Niemann (Chi)
20:24 Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Brooks Koepka (US)
20:35 Russell Henley (US), Cameron Young (US)
20:46 Tony Finau (US), Shane Lowry (Ire)
20:57 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng), Collin Morikawa (US)
21:08 Patrick Cantlay (US), Padraig Harrington (Ire)
21:19 Viktor Hovland (Nor), Min-Woo Lee (Aus)
21:35 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Cameron Smith (Aus)
21:46 Bryson DeChambeau (US), Joo-Hyung Kim (Kor)
21:57 Ryutaro Nagano (Jpn), Xander Schauffele (US)
22:08 Harris English (US), Dustin Johnson (US)
22:19 Rory McIlroy (NI), Scottie Scheffler (US)
22:30 Wyndham Clark (US), Rickie Fowler (US)

Preamble

Is this the day when Rory McIlroy ends his nine-year wait for a major? It’s been a week of relatively few dramas for the Northern Irishman after a turbulent build-up but McIlroy is a thinker. He knows what’s at stake. He knows it’s not just the bookmakers who expect him to win from here – a shot back from two players yet to taste major victory. That duo, Rickie Fowler and Wyndham Clark, have their own narratives. Fowler MkI had plenty of chances to join the majors club but couldn’t take them. After a couple of years in the wilderness, will the fresh perspective that comes with being a father plus his successful reunion with coach Butch Harmon combine to make Fowler MkII a different animal? And Clark? This is all new; he’s never been anywhere near a leaderboard in the majors until this week. Ignorance is bliss and all that so maybe he’s the one. Certainly a recent win at the Wells Fargo Championship means we write him off at our peril. Scottie Scheffler, who surged late in round three, isn’t done yet and Harris English, Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele will all feel they’re just about high enough up the leaderboard to have a say. Here we go then. Buckle up, it’s going to be a late one.

Leaderboard heading into the final round

-10: W Clark, R Fowler
-9: R McIlroy
-7: S Scheffler
-6: H English
-5: D Johnson, X Schauffele
-4: R Nagano
-3: T Kim, B DeChambeau, C Smith



David Tindall

Published: 2023-06-18 19:59:03

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