Gary Woodland, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka are among those still vying for the glory of winning the U.S. Open and earning a spectacular major championship at Pebble Beach.
Woodland is 11 under par and has a one-stroke lead over Rose, with those two in the same positions on the scoreboard after Day 3 as they were after 36 holes. The only difference is that Woodland's lead was cut to one.
If Woodland can figure out a way to remain in the top position during Sunday's final round, he will earn the first major championship.
While the 35-year-old will undoubtedly have a number of pivotal moments in the final round, he may have to go quite a distance to match what he did in making pars on the 12th and 14th holes on moving day.
Woodland had a treacherous shot on the 12th that was in the high fescue on the edge of the bunker. While he made contact with the ball, he was left with a difficult chip. If he could get close on that shot, he could make a bogey.
Woodland did not get close with his chip—instead, it dropped into the bottom of the cup for a spectacular par.
Two holes later, Woodland struggled with two shots on the par-five 14th. He was left with a decent approach shot that could have gotten him close, but the 14th green has a treacherous false front. He needed the ball to fly past that front and then come to a stop.
Woodland's ball hit the false front, and Fox analyst Curtis Strange predicted it would roll back all the way off the green. Instead, his shot came to a stop, something Strange said he had never seen happen. Still Woodland was left with a 42-foot putt for a par, and a miss seemed obvious. But he drained the putt.
The leader spoke to Fox Sports interviewer Joel Klatt after completing his round:
"I felt very good about my round. On the 12th hole, I thought I hit a good shot, but I came up short, and then I shanked the next one. I was trying to avoid the big number, and I just wanted to get it close and take my medicine and move on. Right when I hit it, it looked good the whole time, and it was nice that it went in.
"On the 14th, I got lucky it stayed [on the false front]. I nestled it up there and tried to keep it close, but I got the speed and it went in."
Woodland leads Rose by one stroke and Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen and Chez Reavie by four heading into the final round.
Here's a link to the full scoreboard.
While the players may not emphasize the payouts that come from finishing high in the national championship, the money available is significant.
The U.S. Open purse is $12.5 million for the full field, with the winner getting $2.25 million. All of the golfers who failed to make the cut also get paid $10,000 each.
Here's a look at the payoffs for the top 10 spots on the leaderboard, per Golf Channel, and our projections for those payoffs:
1. Woodland, $2,250,000
2. Koepka, $1,350,000
3. Oosthuizen, $830,466
4. Rose, $582,175
5. Rory McIlroy, $484,896
6. Matt Kuchar, $429,951
7. Reavie, $387,617
8. Danny Willett, $347,157
9. Adam Scott, $314,190
10. Chesson Hadley, $288,590
Woodland stayed calm under the pressure of having the lead headed into the third round. While final-round pressure will be even greater, he appears ready to win his first major.
The spotlight will once again fall on Koepka. He has won the past two U.S. Opens, and he is not going to surrender any ground. He is playing well, and he will push Woodland to the limit.
Oosthuizen has shown he can string together birdies, and he will earn third place. While Rose birdied the final hole Saturday to move to within one stroke of the lead, and his putting has been special throughout the tournament, he may have a hard time maintaining his consistency.