Johnson in 4-way tie after day of survival at U.S. Open

By DOUG FERGUSON - AP Golf Writer
Dustin Johnson reacts after missing a putt on the 15th green during Saturday’s third round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship in Southampton, N.Y. - Seth Wenig | AP Photo

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — The only thing that spared Dustin Johnson from another U.S. Open implosion is that everyone around him suffered on a Shinnecock Hills course that even the USGA conceded got out of hand Saturday afternoon.

Daniel Berger and Tony Finau were the exceptions, each posting a 4-under 66 about the time Johnson was just starting out on greens that became so slick that Phil Mickelson swatted a ball that was still moving on the 13th green and no one in the final 22 groups broke par.

Johnson, who started the third round with a four-shot lead, barely nudged his 17-foot birdie attempt on the 18th hole. It ran 8 feet by the cup and he missed the par putt for one last bogey and a 7-over 77.

At least he still has a chance. Johnson was in a four-way tie for the lead at 3-over 213, the highest 54-hole score to lead the U.S. Open since the fabled “Massacre at Winged Foot” in 1974.

“You were seeing shots that were well played and not rewarded,” said Mike Davis, the chief executive of the USGA. “It was a very tough test, but probably too tough this afternoon.”

Berger and Finau, who started the day 11 shots out of the lead, will play in the final group.

Johnson and defending champion Brooks Koepka will be right behind them. Koepka made only two birdies in a hard-earned round of 72, leaving him in position to become the first back-to-back winner of the U.S. Open since Curtis Strange in 1989.

Henrik Stenson made one birdie and picked up three shots on the leader.

Mickelson celebrated his 48th birthday by matching his worst score in his 27th U.S. Open with an 81, and he provided the snapshot of a day that was entertaining for reasons the USGA didn’t imagine.

He went from behind the 13th green all the way off the front. His next shot was 18 feet above the hole. His bogey putt slid by, and after a few putts, Mickelson trotted after it and then stuck out his putter and hit the ball back toward the cup to keep it from running off the green. That’s a two-shot penalty, giving him a 10.

“It’s just a moment of madness,” said Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who played with Mickelson and couldn’t stifle a laugh.

Mickelson apologized if anyone was offended by his act, even after saying he knew the rules for hitting a ball in motion and was happy to take a two-shot penalty instead of playing a crude version of tennis.

Johnson didn’t have anything that wild, rather more of a slow bleed that began with a shot off a sandy path and three putts on the par-3 second hole for his first double bogey of the championship. His lead was gone with a three-putt bogey on the par-3 seventh. He was back in the lead when everyone around him couldn’t hang on. Justin Rose (73) and Stenson (74) also shared the lead at some point.

Rose was one shot behind, with Stenson another shot behind. Kiradech Aphibarnrat had the only other round under par. He teed off at 9:40 a.m. and had a 2-under 68 and was three shots behind.

The scoring average of 75.33 was the highest for a third round in the U.S. Open since 2000 at Pebble Beach.

Dustin Johnson reacts after missing a putt on the 15th green during Saturday’s third round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship in Southampton, N.Y.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_AP18168006424306.jpgDustin Johnson reacts after missing a putt on the 15th green during Saturday’s third round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship in Southampton, N.Y. Seth Wenig | AP Photo
Johnson in 4-way tie after day of survival at U.S. Open

By DOUG FERGUSON

AP Golf Writer

U.S. Open Scores

Saturday – Third Round

At Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

Southampton, N.Y.

Yardage: 7,445; Par: 70

Daniel Berger 76-71-66—213 +3

Tony Finau 75-72-66—213 +3

Brooks Koepka 75-66-72—213 +3

Dustin Johnson 69-67-77—213 +3

Justin Rose 71-70-73—214 +4

Henrik Stenson 71-70-74—215 +5

Kiradech Aphibarnrat 76-72-68—216 +6

Patrick Reed 73-72-71—216 +6

Jim Furyk 73-71-72—216 +6

Brian Gay 73-74-70—217 +7

Dylan Meyer 77-69-71—217 +7

Tyrrell Hatton 75-70-72—217 +7

Branden Grace 76-69-72—217 +7

Ian Poulter 69-72-76—217 +7

Charley Hoffman 71-69-77—217 +7

Gary Woodland 79-69-70—218 +8

Webb Simpson 76-71-71—218 +8

Zach Johnson 73-73-72—218 +8

Xander Schauffele 72-74-72—218 +8

Bryson DeChambeau 76-69-73—218 +8

Justin Thomas 74-70-74—218 +8

Matthew Fitzpatrick 73-70-75—218 +8

Francesco Molinari 75-72-72—219 +9

Paul Casey 73-73-73—219 +9

Ryan Fox 73-72-74—219 +9

Russell Knox 73-71-75—219 +9

Russell Henley 69-73-77—219 +9

Tommy Fleetwood 75-66-78—219 +9

Scott Piercy 69-71-79—219 +9

Brendan Steele 72-73-75—220 +10

Rafa Cabrera Bello 73-71-76—220 +10

Charles Howell 71-72-77—220 +10

Jhonattan Vegas 76-72-73—221 +11

Brandt Snedeker 72-76-73—221 +11

Steve Stricker 73-75-73—221 +11

a-Matt Parziale 74-73-74—221 +11

Haotong Li 79-68-74—221 +11

Chris Naegel 73-73-75—221 +11

Louis Oosthuizen 74-72-75—221 +11

Pat Perez 73-71-77—221 +11

Alex Noren 72-72-77—221 +11

Marc Leishman 74-69-78—221 +11

Bill Haas 76-72-74—222 +12

Matthieu Pavon 71-77-74—222 +12

a-Luis Gagne 73-74-75—222 +12

Peter Uihlein 75-72-75—222 +12

Sam Burns 71-76-75—222 +12

Patrick Cantlay 75-71-76—222 +12

Brian Harman 74-70-78—222 +12

Dean Burmester 75-73-75—223 +13

Aaron Baddeley 74-72-77—223 +13

a-Will Grimmer 73-72-78—223 +13

Jason Dufner 70-74-79—223 +13

Cameron Wilson 75-73-76—224 +14

Hideki Matsuyama 75-70-79—224 +14

Jimmy Walker 75-70-79—224 +14

Mickey DeMorat 72-72-80—224 +14

Kevin Chappell 75-72-78—225 +15

Calum Hill 75-69-81—225 +15

Tyler Duncan 77-67-81—225 +15

Tim Wilkinson 76-72-78—226 +16

Ross Fisher 76-71-79—226 +16

Rickie Fowler 73-69-84—226 +16

Phil Mickelson 77-69-81—227 +17

Patrick Rodgers 72-72-83—227 +17

Byeong Hun An 71-76-81—228 +18

Andrew Johnston 73-73-82—228 +18

a-denotes amateur