Min Woo Lee in action this week – photo Robert Beck USGA
He might be six shots from the lead and in a share of 17th place at the US Open near Boston, but Perth’s Min Woo Lee’s third round of 69 has moved him within striking distance of contention at the Country Club, Brookline and with so many of those ahead of him moving in the other direction today, he now stands a chance of something special if he was able to repeat the dose tomorrow.
Birdies at his final two holes on one of the more demanding days and layouts he will have played in his career to date may prove crucial as he chases the title as not only the leading Australasian this week but, potentially, something even better.
Lee made the cut on the number yesterday at 3 over par but on a day where the Country Club well and truly bared her teeth, his under par effort moved him from a share of 53rd to his share of 17th and a similar round or better on day four might well see him inside the top ten or better.
This is Lee’s first US Open and comes on top of an impressive debut effort at The Masters where he tied for 14th so he continues to impress as one of Australia’s rising stars along with Lucas Herbert and tomorrow provides a great opportunity to advance that reputation.
Six bogeys and four birdies led to a round of 72 for Adam Scott and he finds himself at 4 over and tied for 35th, while two late bogeys completed a disappointing round of 74 for Marc Leishman and he is tied with Scott.
Todd Sinnott, who had done so well in his opening two rounds of 71, was very much in the thick of things when he made the turn today at 1 under for the round and 1 over for the event and not far off the pace, but he would struggle on his way into the clubhouse with a back nine of 40 including a frustrating double bogey at the last to finish at 6 over and in 45th place.
The event is led through 54 holes by Matthew Fitzpatrick and Will Zalatoris, Zalatoris, playing more than two hours ahead of the final group reeling off a best of the day round of 67 today to make a huge move and when he had finished his round he was alone in the lead.
Fitzpatrick, however, who when winning the 2013 US Amateur Championship over this layout defeated Australian Oliver Goss in the final, birdied three of his last five holes to take the lead before a bogey at the last has him tied at with Zalatoris at 4 under.
The story of the last moments of day three however would be told by Jon Rahm who, when he birdied 14, 15 and 17, had taken a one shot lead into the 54th hole.
Rahm found the bunker with his tee shot at the last and, perhaps trying to get too much out of his attempt to reach the green, left his 2nd in the bunker and then found the greenside bunker with his third. His 4th finished 25 feet behind the hole and he would double-bogey to finish one off the lead and alone in 3rd place.