PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Gary Woodland has shown no sign of weakness this weekend while he held the lead of the match until Saturday at the 119th US Open. Woodland is playing the best golf in his professional career, and after some top 10, it seems appropriate to see his name at the top of the ranking at Pebble Beach. However, the question remains: will Woodland convert this opportunity into its first major victory?
Kyle Porter and I have often discussed the idea of winning chances – that you only get many chances of winning a Sunday tournament – during the First Cut podcast, and this idea is particularly prevalent in big leagues. There are only four majors in a year and a number of times such that a golfer will be within striking distance in preparation for the finals of one of these championships. Woodland may have more than ten years in his professional career, but his major success has been recent; Holding a 54-hole lead against championship caliber competitors will be a test as much as trying to beat Pebble Beach for a fourth day in a row after three innings under the par.
Brooks Koepka, the US Open champion of the United States, is the most dangerous of this group. He is entering the final four-shot pace, but feels good in his match after three consecutive innings under the 70 mark. Justin Rose, who played with Woodland on Saturday and will be back on Sunday, is a blow back. The other major champions, Louis Oosthuizen and Rory McIlroy, are also in striking distance, and Sunday's biggest question will be which of these proven winners – or perhaps another potential winner for the first time – will qualify for first place when the situation becomes tight. Last 18 holes of the championship.
Let's see the standings as it appears Sunday at the 2019 US Open.
1. Gary Woodland (-11): All the world pressure was on Woodland, but the leader was comfortable in that position. His two bogey scores or worse are the least on the field with 54 holes and some of Saturday's normal backups were as impressive as the birdies. Woodland's 54-over-202 score is tied for third best in the history of the US Open, tied with Martin Kaymer (2014), followed by Jim Furyk (2003) and Rory McIlroy (2011). These three players have all won their respective events and Woodland hopes to add his name to this list.
2. Justin Rose (-10): There is something to be said about how Rose has climbed the ladder of this championship. Rose had two shots back after 54 holes when he won at Merion in 2013, and here – in this position – he must like his form before Sunday. Saturday had to face tough challenges, and he has delivered over and over again, including a birdie to the last.
T3. Brooks Koepka, Chez Reavie, Louis Oosthuizen (-7): We will focus on Koepka, but this position is strong for both Reavie and Oosthuizen. Reavie has no top-10 in 17 major starts and is in a position to get his best major result in history. Oosthuizen, winner of the Open Championship in 2010, is on the brink of winning his best US Open finish since Chambers Bay in 2015.
6. Rory McIlroy (-6): Everything about this visit to Pebble Beach goes against Rory's recent appearances in the United States. Missing the last three cups at the American Open, McIlroy was punished by the bad scores of the first rounds. So, while the shortcomings and difficult breaks occurred during the third round of Saturday, he kept confidence knowing that he was still hunting and continued to fight for birdies in the far right. McIlroy is the most dangerous threat to Woodland behind Koepka, and I think the leader should expect to see the quadruple winner score low on Sunday afternoon.
T7. Matt Kuchar, Chesson Hadley (-5): A calm of 70 for these two golfers is probably a good thing, as they were able to stay in competition while others were getting their feet on a cold day with unpleasant scores on the board. Kuchar was well placed before the bogeys at 16 and 17, but both golfers will have a chance to finish in the standings before the last 18 holes.
T9. Danny Willett, Graeme McDowell, Jon Rahm, Henrik Stenson, Matt Wallace (-4): Willett had one of the best rounds of the day with his 67, while McDowell and Stenson must be happy with a round of under 70 to stay in the top 10 of the standings. Given Woodland's position, it is hard to imagine one of these players as a champion but there will be a lot of things at stake – from prize money to exemptions, to FedEx points Cup – Sunday.
T17. Dustin Johnson (-2): Here at Pebble Beach, there have been three- to four-hole courses for the DJ, making it a game so easy that you can easily imagine it strutting towards an American title. But some brief moments were so damaging that DJ never really threatened to win. Backdoor top 10 alert here because a very low Sunday score would not be surprising given the closeness that he had sometimes this week.
T27. Tiger Woods (E): A birdie with five, five bogey and even a normal round of 71 was as wild as it appears on paper for the double champion of the United States. Really, it was only a late attempt that put him in the top 30 of the standings after a bad start to the match and many missed opportunities on the green.
CBS Sports was with you throughout the day Saturday to update this story with the latest scores, scans and highlights from the third round of the US 2019 Open. If you can not see the updates below, please click here.
Thank you for being past.