UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. (AP) — Dustin Johnson played bogey-free on the front nine at Chambers Bay and built a two-shot lead in the final round of the U.S. Open.
After three close calls in the majors, Johnson was nine holes away from redemption.
He missed birdie chances inside 6 feet on consecutive holes early on a course where the fescue grass appeared to be on life support. Johnson made a pair of birdies and saved par with a 15-foot putt on No. 7 to reach the turn at 6-under par.
Jordan Spieth, trying to become only the fourth player since 1960 to win the first two majors of the year, opened with a bogey and got it back with a two-putt birdie on No. 8 to get to 4 under.
Branden Grace also was at 4 under after using the slope on No. 9 to funnel the ball down to tap-in range.
Jason Day, blinking his eyes repeatedly to cope with his bout of vertigo, was trying to stay close. He made three bogeys to fall behind, and then he missed a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 9 and headed to the back nine three shots behind.
Chambers Bay was set up for a big finish.
The opening 14 holes were dangerous as ever. The final four holes, with the length and pin positions, were set up for scoring. Adam Scott showed just how much. He played bogey-free for a 64, the round of the championship, and posted a 3-under 277 in the clubhouse.
Rory McIlroy also made a run. The world’s No. 1 player, who started eight shots behind, made a 70-foot birdie putt on No. 13 and already was 6 under for his round — and at the time, three shots out of the lead.
His tee shot on the par-3 15th was just short, leading to bogey, and he three-putted the 17th for bogey. He had to settle for a 66.
The greens have been bumpy all week with poa annua creeping into the fescue, and dry conditions all week. Billy Horschel shot a 67, stepped up to a microphone and said, “I’ve been waiting for this moment all week.”
He harshly criticized the greens and said he lost respect for the USGA.
Even so, it was an All-Star leaderboard, led by Johnson, who was trying to finally fulfill his potential.
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