The leader is playing in his first U.S. Open. He admitted after his first round that he wasn’t necessarily that big on golf history.
“I do play golf, but there are a lot of things that I’m pretty unaware of until people tell me about them, especially with the history of the game,” Matthew Wolff said. “I think it’s because I’m so young and I played so many sports growing up that I didn’t follow golf as closely.”
Shh. What the 21-year-old doesn’t know isn’t killing him. Here are three things you need to know after Saturday’s third round of the U.S. Open at Winged Foot.
Matthew Wolff leads
Wolff may not know the history, but he’s on the cusp of making some.
Starting the day four shots out of the lead, Wolff birdied the 1st, 4th, 6th, 7th and 9th holes to turn in five-under 30 to roar into the lead. He dropped a shot on the 16th with his lone bogey, then picked it right back up with a birdie on the 18th for a five-under 65, a five-under total and a two-stroke lead over Bryson DeChambeau.
Wolff’s driver wasn’t accurate, but it was effective. He hit just 2 of 14 fairways yet was 16th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (0.83). His irons and putter were even better. Not one of his six birdies were longer than 15 feet.
“I think my putting was by far the best it’s felt in the last two or three months,” Wolff said. “I feel like I’m really hitting the ball well. My irons were really good, and even though I only hit two fairways, my driver was — it was just barely off, but that’s the U.S. Open.”
Bryson DeChambeau is two shots behind
DeChambeau started weakly. He finished strongly. DeChambeau bogeyed the 1st after a three-putt. He bogeyed the 2nd after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker. He played two under from there, including birdies on the 16th and 17th holes, for an even-par 70 and a three-under total.
Louis Oosthuizen sits at one under, the only other player under par for the tournament, and four shots behind Wolff. At even par are Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele and Harris English, and at one over is Rory McIlroy.
Patrick Reed, the second-round leader, shot a seven-over 77 and is eight shots behind Wolff.
Winged Foot was manageable
A day after scores were high, and two days after scores were low, Winged Foot was somewhere in the middle on Saturday.
Seven players shot under par, led by Wolff’s 65, which ties Justin Thomas’ first round for the lowest U.S. Open score at Winged Foot. Five players shot even par.
On Thursday, 21 players broke par. On Friday, three did. Thomas followed up his 65 with a three-over 73 and a six-over 76.