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.


Russian athletics champ blasts own sports authorities

Updated 14 min 42 sec ago

Russian athletics champ blasts own sports authorities

  • Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been critical of Russia’s athletics federation

MOSCOW: Russian high jump world champion Maria Lasitskene on Tuesday accused her country’s own sports authorities of failing to protect athletes from the deepening doping crisis, in a rare public broadside at top officials.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday handed Russia a new, this time four-year, ban from top global sporting events, including the next summer and winter Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup, for tampering with laboratory data.

The ruling means Russian athletes cleared to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will do so under a neutral flag. But Lasitskene and some other Russian track and field athletes face additional obstacles to being cleared for competition.

“I’ve already missed one Olympics and one-and-a-half years of international competition,” Lasitskene wrote in an open letter addressed to Russia’s sports authorities.

“And it seems that’s not the end of it. So who ultimately is to blame? Who’s going to give me back what I’ve lost?” she wrote in the letter published on Russian sports media outlet Championat.Com.

Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been critical of Russia’s athletics federation, which has been suspended for doping since 2015, and has been one of the few Russian athletes to voice her anger publicly.

World Athletics, the global body governing athletics, last month halted the reinstatement procedures for Russia’s athletics federation after its president and six others were provisionally suspended for serious breaches of anti-doping rules.

As a result of these fresh sanctions, World Athletics also said it was reviewing the process it has used in the past to clear some Russians, including Lasitskene, to compete internationally as neutrals.

“Why have we arrived at a situation when an athlete is supposed to be delighted about getting neutral status?” Lasitskene wrote.

“Was the Sports Ministry and Russian Olympic Committee really happy with the Russian athletics federation’s work?”

The president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, on Monday dismissed the sanctions against Russia as inappropriate and excessive.