US Open 2018: Eight best ways it could end, ranked!

Dustin Johnson-061418-GETTY-FTR

Dustin Johnson

Curtis Strange called it "everything that you have seen in your worst-kept lawn". "Everybody has got to play it". All through the practice rounds the players were honing their skills on trademark US Open glass-quick greens. Johnson then had to play the remaining holes unsure of what his score was. As the day wore on the course dried out and pinpoint shots were pitching within a yard of the pin, apparently coming to a standstill, only to drift this way and that, off the green and into the dwang. "I mean, for the most part, we all had to play this afternoon". Not that it helped Rory McIlroy. "If you can eliminate double, you're fine", he explained.

Well, that's the US Open for you.

But then there was Ian Poulter, who more than anyone was robbed on 15 and after playing what seemed to be the ideal bunker shot on 15 but only to look on in total amazement when his ball kept rolling, and rolling, and rolling before coming to rest some 60-feet beyong the flag and now off the green from where "Poults" took bogey on route to a round of 76 for a share of 10th place at seven-over. "Exhausted", was his reply.

"We felt good about the set-up this morning".

World No 1 Dustin Johnson went into day three leading by four shots at four-under and for all intention purposes he should be leading by five, six, seven shots with a round to play. Yes, with mistakes I made, some of this could have been avoided.

"I had six or seven putts today that I could have easily putted right off the green, but that's what it is", he said. "I haven't enjoyed very many US Opens, to be honest".

Hard hole locations, some set near the steep slopes at the edge of Shinnecock's putting surfaces, forced every player to be defensive but the difficulty of the greens increased as the day progressed.

"I've changed my mindset". Hall of Famer Gary Player called it "the worst golf course I have ever seen in the 63 years as a professional golfer", and Henrik Stenson said the greens were like "putting on broccoli".

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"It started to get a lot firmer and faster", he said. At that time I just didn't feel like going back and forth and hitting the same shot over. It's hard for everyone.

Only three players carved out scores in the 60s on Saturday, and one of them was Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, whose over-the-belt belly makes him an outlier on today's hyper-aerobicized PGA Tour.

Elsewhere the big names continued to crumble.

Tiger Woods missed the cut at plus-10.

With the pressure of winning a major bearing down on the field, the experienced players could reign supreme among a collection of golfers in search of their first major championship. But he was proud of the way he stayed composed after a poor start and happy to be in contention.

"I'm in a good position", he said. "I drove it pretty good for most of the day, just never took advantage of the opportunities". They came back from 11 shots down and moved from tied for 45th to tied for first.

The U.S. Open record for a comeback over the final 36 holes is 11 shots.

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