Woodland clings to one-shot lead over Rose going into final round

Gary Woodland reaches out to fans as he walks to the 14th tee during the third round of the 2019 US Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 15, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. (Warren Little/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 16 June 2019

Woodland clings to one-shot lead over Rose going into final round

  • The three-time US PGA Tour winner finished 54 holes with on 11-under 202 to stay in front of former US Open champion Justin Rose

PEBBLE BEACH, California: Gary Woodland delivered a gritty back nine display Saturday, coming up with key par saves in a 2-under 69 to stay one stroke in front of Justin Rose heading into the fourth round of the US Open at Pebble Beach.

Woodland, a three-time US PGA Tour winner in search of his first major title, finished 54 holes with on 11-under 202 to stay in front of former US Open champion Rose, who capped his 3-under 68 with a birdie at 18 for a 10-under total of 203.

It was another three strokes back to a group headed by two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka, who stayed within striking distance of a fifth major title with a 68 for 7-under 206.

Woodland, who stretched his two-shot overnight lead to as many as four on the front nine, led Rose by three after a birdie at 11.

He was facing a dropped shot at 12 after finding the rough on the lip of a bunker, but chipped in to save par, preserving a two-shot lead as Rose drained a nine-foot birdie putt.

After rolling in a four-foot par-saving putt at 13, Woodland produced another unlikely save, draining a 42-foot putt at the par-5 14th — where Rose also birdied.

“I felt really comfortable today, comfortable with my game,” the 35-year-old said. “I’m excited to be where I am right now.”

Woodland’s nine-foot birdie putt burned the edge at 18, where Rose closed the gap with his fifth birdie of the day.

“I’m certainly reading the greens well,” said Rose, whose putting has kept him going all despite a wealth of missed fairways and greens.

Rose and Woodland both set themselves up for the weekend with rounds of 65 — Rose on Thursday and Woodland on Friday — matching the lowest US Open round ever posted at Pebble Beach and first achieved by Tiger Woods in 2000. On another cool, overcast day Pebble Beach continued to offer birdie chances, but there was plenty of danger lurking among the spectacular ocean views.

“If you don’t drive it good around here or struggle with your iron play, you’re going to struggle,” said former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, who carded a one-under 70 to get to 7-under along with Koepka and Chez Reavie, who signed for a 68.

“It’s so, so tough, the rough,” said Oosthuizen, who thought the US Golf Association found an ideal balance, even if scores were startlingly low for a US Open.

“You still need to hit fairways, still need to hit greens, and it’s nice to see red numbers in a US Open. I think it’s a little bit more exciting.”

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy found the going tough enough.

McIlroy rebounded from a bogey at the par-3 17th with his third birdie of the day at 18 for a 1-under 70 that left him alone in sixth on6-under 207.

“I felt for the most part today I did the right things,” McIlroy said.

“And I need to do 18 more holes of that, but just get a little bit more out of the round tomorrow than I did today,” added the four-time major winner who was a stroke in front of Americans Matt Kuchar and Chesson Hadley, who both shot 70.


Fati delights, Jovic disappoints, optimism for Atletico

Updated 30 September 2020

Fati delights, Jovic disappoints, optimism for Atletico

  • Atletico scored 19 fewer goals than champions Real Madrid last season and 35 fewer than Barcelona

MADRID: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will all be hoping to build on their first wins of the season as La Liga heads into its fourth round of games this week.

Here are the five talking points ahead of the midweek fixtures.

For the first time in a long time, Barcelona can enjoy some calm after a 4-0 win over Villarreal in their first match of the season on Sunday.

Lionel Messi scored on his first competitive appearance since attempting to leave in the summer but most exciting was the performance of the 17-year-old Ansu Fati, who scored twice and won a penalty.

Ronald Koeman must decide how to make the most of the teenager, whose maturity on the pitch belies his age and whose body might not be ready to start every week.

But Fati's pace, movement and decision-making are all so impressive it will be difficult to leave him out, as Barca look to build on that win at Celta Vigo on Thursday.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane switched to a 4-4-2 formation during his team's 3-2 win at Real Betis on Saturday as Luka Jovic was deployed up front alongside Karim Benzema.

But the Serbian striker failed to take his chance, instead enduring another underwhelming night before going off with 18 minutes to go.

It remains to be seen whether Zidane persists with Jovic at home to Real Valladolid on Wednesday, or at all, given Madrid could yet decide to let their €60 million (today $70 million) signing leave before the end of the transfer window.

When Eden Hazard regains fitness, that spot next to Benzema will belong to the Belgian so Jovic's window of opportunity may be small. Time would appear to be running out.

Atletico scored 19 fewer goals than champions Real Madrid last season and 35 fewer than Barcelona.

So hitting six against Granada on Sunday offered some early encouragement that this season's Atletico, boosted by the arrival of Luis Suarez in attack, can put those scoring problems behind them.

Suarez stole the show after scoring twice on his debut but Joao Felix was arguably the biggest plus for Diego Simeone, who will hope the 20-year-old's excellent display is the start of a more consistent campaign.

Atletico go up against newly promoted Huesca on Wednesday, the kind of game they slipped up in too often last season.

Even defeat by Real Madrid could not knock Real Betis off the top of the table, as Manuel Pellegrini's team enjoy the benefits of a strong start and more games played than the traditional powerhouses three weeks into the season.

But there is cause for optimism longer-term as Betis began with wins against Alaves and Real Valladolid, before matching Madrid for prolonged spells until their opponents pulled away in the second half.

With the likes of Nabil Fekir, Sergio Canales and Joaquin, this Betis squad has not lacked for attacking talent but solidity at the back has too often been an afterthought.

Villarreal face Alaves on Wednesday, with pressure already on both coaches. Villarreal have four points from their opening three games but a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Barcelona on Sunday, as well as a draw at home to newly-promoted Huesca means Unai Emery could do with a victory.

Alaves, meanwhile, are second bottom after managing just a point from their first three games, with Pablo Machin seeking a first win at la Ceramica.

Valencia have also made a stuttering start, a draw at home to Huesca on Saturday coming on the back of a surprise loss away at Celta Vigo.

New coach Javi Gracia has already expressed disappointment with the club's summer transfer dealings, meaning credit with the board may be lacking if results do not improve.