Matthew Wolff is playing in his first career U.S. Open, but you’d never know it by looking at his scorecard. After an impressive third-round 65, Wolff holds his first 54-hole lead in a major and will play in the final paring tomorrow.
“Right now I feel like very confident with every single part of my game,” he said after the round. “I’m not going to think about it too much and just go out there and do the same things I’ve done the last three days.”
Wolff began moving day four shots back of the lead held by Patrick Reed. He erased the deficit in a mere seven holes, firing lasers at each and every pin, seemingly blind to the dangers that penalize every less-than-perfect shot.
The front nine at Winged Foot is among the most difficult stretches in golf, especially during a U.S. Open. Wolff made it look like a local muni with his play on Saturday afternoon. The 21-year-old got off to a quick start, birdieing the 1st hole, and his card only got better from there. He followed his opening birdie with pars at the 2nd and 3rd. Then, he got hot.
Wolff birdied the difficult 4th and tacked on two more at the 6th and 7th. He had an excellent look at another birdie on the 8th, but his putt slid past the hole, leaving an easy par. With a stress-free two-putt birdie on the par-5 9th, Wolff turned to the back nine with a blistering 30 on the opening nine. The score matched Louis Oosthuizen for the low front-nine score of the week and gave him the solo lead.
“Matthew Wolff is feeling it right now!” remarked NBC analyst Paul Azinger.
Those good feeling continued on the back nine. Although the birdie barrage was behind him, Wolff continued to keep his scorecard clean as he showed an impressive ability to scramble. On the day, he hit just two fairways, but he always seemed in control no matter where his drives ended up.
He found a brief bit of trouble on the 16th hole as he recorded his first dropped shot since Friday, but he quickly bounced back by birdieing the difficult 18th for the second time on the week., securing his round of 65 and a date in the final pairing with Bryson DeChambeau.
“I’m just excited to be where I’m at and look forward to tomorrow,” he said.