Matthew Wolff, playing in only his second major, stole the show at an unforgiving Winged Foot with a scorching start and steady finish to grab an unlikely two-shot lead over big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau after the third round.
The 21-year-old Wolff began the day four shots behind overnight leader, Patrick Reed, but erased that deficit in seven holes en-route to a five-under-par 65 that tied the low round of the week and brought him to five under overall.
The front nine at Winged Foot is one of the more daunting stretches in golf. However, a steadfast Wolff came out firing and reached the turn with a blistering five-under 30 after five birdies.
Wolff, who hit just two of 14 fairways, made his lone bogey at the par-four 16th but responded in style with a birdie at the last after sticking his approach shot to 10 feet.
“I think my putting was by far the best it’s felt in the last two or three months. 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 US open,” he said.
DeChambeau, who began the day one shot back of Reed, made a bogey start but leaned on his power to chase down Wolff.
He, however, squandered a chance to finish within one shot of the lead when he two-putted from six-feet for a closing bogey.
“Well, the round today was a huge battle. I was proud of the way I persevered out there today. It was difficult, especially when you’re not hitting it straight in the fairway. For me it felt like I kept myself in it, scrambled really well,” he said.
South African former British Open champion, Louis Oosthuizen, was four shots back of Wolff.
“Any under-par round at a US open you’ll take. I think we got very lucky with the draw today. Waking up this morning, watching a bit of golf, you could see it was really cold, windy and definitely died down for us. The sun came out a little bit, definitely lucky on the draw today,” Oosthuizen said.
World number ten, Reed, drained a nine-foot birdie at the ninth to share the lead but fell apart over an inward nine during which he made six bogeys and a double-bogey to fall into a share of 11th place, eight shots back of Wolff.