ERIN, Wis. — The Latest on the U.S. Open (all times local):
Make it a six-way tie atop the U.S. Open leaderboard.
Justin Thomas and Charley Hoffman have joined 36-hole leaders Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka, Brian Harman and Tommy Fleetwood at 7 under. Thomas made six birdies and one bogey on his front nine in the third round, and Hoffman birdied three of his first five holes.
A whopping eight players are at 6 under, including world No. 4 Hideki Matsuyama and Louis Oosthuizen.
Casey, Koepka, Harman and Fleetwood have yet to tee off.
Steve Stricker is soaking up the warmest ovations of the third round in his home state of Wisconsin. And he’s giving the fans something to cheer.
Stricker couldn’t help but break into a wide smile when he made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to get to 4 under for the day. The only disappointment was a three-putt bogey from 35 feet on the final hole. He shot a 69 and was at 2-under 214.
The way this third round is going, odds are against him becoming the first player since Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines in 2008 to win a U.S. Open in his home state. Results are not what will make this a great week at Erin Hills for the 50-year-old Stricker. He just has to listen to the crowd.
Charley Hoffman is joining the jam-packed crowd near the top of the U.S. Open leaderboard.
Hoffman has opened his third round at Erin Hills with two birdies to move into a four-way tie for second at 6 under. He’s one shot back of the lead shared by four golfers who tee off later Saturday.
Justin Thomas may have had one of the more entertaining birdies of the afternoon at the par-4 fifth. Thomas rolled in an 18-footer that went right to left from the edge of the green. He grabbed his putter and pointed it out to his left just as the ball dropped into the cup.
Thomas is 2 under on the day and for 4 under for the tournament.
Amateur Scottie Scheffler is playing with the poise of a veteran at the U.S. Open.
His 13-foot putt for birdie at the par-5 seventh moved him to 3 under for the day and 4 under for the tournament.
Scheffler is three shots back of the lead on a jam-packed leaderboard. He has birdied three of his last four holes.
Scheffler isn’t the only amateur making waves at Erin Hills, with Cameron Champ two shots back of the lead at 5 under. Champ tees off later Saturday.
Louis Oosthuizen is making the biggest move the morning in the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
Oosthuizen ran off four birdies on the front nine and made the turn at 4-under par, leaving him only three shots behind. The leaders still had another two hours before they teed off. Oosthuizen, the former British Open champion at St. Andrews, was hopeful of at least giving them something to think about.
Also starting strong was Justin Thomas with tap-in birdies on his opening two holes to reach 4 under.
Low scores were available. That’s been the case all week at Erin Hills. Not everyone can take advantage. Jordan Spieth was even par through 12 holes and going nowhere. Former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson shot a 71, though he was still seven shots behind.
Zach Johnson holed an 8-foot putt on the par-3 ninth for his third birdie of the front nine. The two-time major champion is 3 under for his third round at the U.S. Open and has moved into the top 25 at Erin Hills.
Not bad for a guy who made the cut on the number.
With only eight shots separating top to bottom going into the weekend, someone from way back has a chance to make up ground in a hurry.
Jordan Spieth is not among them. He is 1 over for his round with six holes.
Clouds are starting to gather over Wisconsin, and there’s a chance the leaders might have to cope with bad weather in the afternoon. They are still about three hours away from teeing off.
The U.S. Open is wide open going into the weekend.
Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka, Brian Harman and Tommy Fleetwood share the 36-hole lead at Erin Hills. And if that’s not enough of a traffic jam at the top, 18 players are separated by three shots to start the third round.
But that’s not all that makes the possibilities so limitless Saturday.
Only eight shots separate the leaders from the players who made the cut on the number. That’s the lowest differential after 36 holes in the U.S. Open, mainly because until 2012, everyone within 10 shots of the lead made the cut at the U.S. Open.
Now consider that the largest 36-hole comeback in U.S. Open history was 11 shots by Lou Graham in 1975. It’s wide open.
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