Former Cal golfer Collin Morikawa is still in the hunt for his second major title, but he will have some work to do in Sunday's final round of the U.S. Open to claim it.
Morikawa shot a 1-under-par 70 in Saturday's third round on the Torrey Pines South Course in San Diego, putting him at 1-under for the tournament. That leaves him tied for ninth place, four strokes behind leaders Russell Henley, Mackenzie Hughes and Louis Oosthuizen, who are tied atop the leaderboard at 5 under par.
Those three hold a two-stroke lead on the field, but there will be a lot of pressure from behind.
Rory McIlroy and defending champion Bryson DeChambeau are tied at 3-under, just two shots off the lead, after impressive rounds Saturday. McIlroy matched Paul Casey for the best round of the day with a 4-under-par 67, and DeChambeau was nearly as good with a 3-under 68.
Jon Rahm, the pre-tournament favorite, is still a factor at 2-under after a 1-over 72 on Saturday.
Dustin Johnson is tied with Morikawa at 1-under after shooting a 3-under-par 68.
The traditional wisdom is that you need to be within four shots of the lead entering the final round to have a chance to pull out a win at a major on Sunday.
Brooks Koepka remains on the edge of contention at even par after an even-par round, five shots off the pace. And lurking in the background is Jordan Spieth, who seemed to be out of it when he shot 77 in the first round, but has pulled to within six shots of the lead after a 3-under 68 left him at 1-over for the tournament.
The pressure will be on the leaders in the final round of a major.
"You're going to have nerves; it's just how you handle it," Oosthuizen said.
Oosthuizen can handle it. He won the 2010 U.S. Open and has finished second in five other majors. But can Henley and Mackenzie handle it? Henley has not won a PGA event in more than four years, and he has not finished in the top-10 in any of the 26 previous majors he entered. Mackenzie has never finished better than 40th in a major and missed the cut in six of his previous eight appearances in majors.
Oosthuizen may have the momentum after sinking a long putt for an eagle on the final hole of the third round to tie for the lead:
Morikawa has shown he can handle final-round pressure, and he put himself in position to challenge for the title by recording a birdie on the 18th hole. An excellent shot out of the sand left him a short putt for a birdie 4.
Morikawa's Saturday scorecard:
The 24-year-old Morikawa had three birdies and two bogeys to put himself in position to challenge for another major after winning the 2020 PGA Championship.
Morikawa is likely to finish with his best performance in a U.S. Open. He missed the cut in the 2020 U.S. Open and finished tied for 35th in 2019 the only other time he played the event.
Rory McIlroy talks about his third round:
Also: Phil Mickelson won't be winning a second straight major title. He shot a 5-over-par 76 on Saturday, leaving him 7-over for the tournament.
This video is included to show the pros can do things that even duffers do:
Cover photo of Collin Morikawa by Orland Ramirez, USA TODAY Sports
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