At the U.S. Open, a Three-Way Tie for the Lead Sets Up a Wild Finish
SAN DIEGO — There were plenty of intriguing story lines, but little sizzle, in the opening half of the 2021 United States Open. Richard Bland of England, who qualified for the championship by winning his first European Tour event after 477 failed attempts, was tied for the lead with Russell Henley, a PGA Tour veteran whose last tournament victory was four years ago.
The spotlight of America’s national golf championship was desperately looking for a familiar face.
In the third round on Saturday at Torrey Pines Golf Course, the sport’s headliners finally stepped to the edge of the stage, an experienced, decorated crew that may forecast a star-powered and suspenseful finish to Sunday’s final round.
Henley finished the round at five under par overall and remained atop the leaderboard and was tied by another lesser-known player, Mackenzie Hughes of Canada. But with a thrilling 52-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole, Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion from South Africa, also vaulted into a tie for first. Moreover, Rory McIlroy, the four-time major champion, and Bryson DeChambeau, the defending U.S. Open champion, mustered charges that left them two strokes off the lead at three under.
Jon Rahm, a prominent pretournament favorite because of his stellar play in the last month, was at two under, as was the resurgent Matthew Wolff, last year’s runner-up in the event, and Scottie Scheffler, another promising young player with several recent top finishes. Not to be overlooked at just four strokes off the lead were last year’s Masters champion Dustin Johnson, who shot a 68 on Saturday, and Collin Morikawa, the winner of the 2020 P.G.A. Championship.