Johnson falters to be in four-way lead in US Open

Johnson called it the best seven-over he had ever shot.

"That was miserable", Johnson grumbled. He was one of four players to finish under par in the first round.

Mickelson downplayed the controversy and offered a limp apology to reporters."If someone is offended I apologise, but toughen up, " he said.

"Of course, Grand Slam would have been nice, but you know, I mean, honestly, to me, that was really the last thing on my mind", Reed said.

Sitting atop the US Open leaderboard ahead of today's final round, four American players are tied for leader at +3; Daniel Berger, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson. Strange, the last player to record the feat, did so in 1988 and 1989.

Koepka took a two-shot lead with a wedge to 3½ feet for birdie on the par-5 16th, allowing him a safe bogey on the final hole to finish at 1-over 281. In his storied US Open career, Woods was only cut in 2006 and 2015.

This is the fifth consecutive U.S. Open with a controversy over course preparation or poor management under the watch of Davis. Himself and numerous other players said the green speed was too fast. "The speed of the greens picked up". Those were, supposedly, the best golfers in the field through two rounds. "Some people will say I've been whingeing, but it's brutal".

Ian Poulter: "I'm not sure I could possibly comment without using words which shouldn't be seen ... just like some of those pins". Putts bounced and skidded on the glassy, bumpy greens.

Berger and Finau shot third-round 66s.

Speaking on FOX Sports after the final pair finished their rounds, Davis said he felt it was a "day of two golf courses".

With a putting performance and calm demeanor reminiscent of Retief Goosen when he won the previous U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, in 2004, the 28-year-old Koepka began the back nine with three pivotal putts - one for birdie, one for bogey, one for par.

"I think they did a good job with setup today", Fowler said.

A freshening breeze on a warm, cloudless day was baking the course dry and making for an increasingly arduous test by the time Berger was finished.

Too bad the damage to this championship has already been done, as what had been a strong examination of skill turned into a game of chance. Yes, with mistakes I made, some of this could have been avoided.

"When it goes over the edge, pars feel like birdies and bogeys feel like pars". You are kind of taking away from what you did the first two days. His playing partner, Scott Piercy, fared worse with a 79. "I feel you've got to take it (the title) from me to be honest". Early groups enjoyed gentler winds and wetter greens; by the time Johnson teed off at 3:10 p.m., he found a surface that played more like glass than grass.

Yesterday Mickelson made par on the 13th for a six-shot improvement from round three before raising his arms in mock triumph. He knew before he struck the putt that unless the hole got in the way there was no way of stopping the ball - and so it proved.

"I felt like I played pretty well", he said.

"Rafa Cabrera-Bello: "... it was not a fair test of golf. On Saturday, that score would be good for a share of 16th place.

"Be careful what you wish for", Rose said.

Koepka's round of 72 was the best from anyone in the last seven groups and the 28-year-old is confident he can become the first back-to-back victor of the US Open since Curtis Strange in 1989. "I love Dustin. He's one of my best friends".

  • Julie Sanders