Brooks Koepka claimed a share of the lead heading into the last day of the US Open. Picture: AP
Brooks Koepka claimed a share of the lead heading into the last day of the US Open. Picture: AP

Reigning champ claims US Open lead

DUSTIN Johnson unravelled on the front nine at a sun-baked Shinnecock Hills as defending champion Brooks Koepka and Henrik Stenson shared the lead in the third round of the US Open.

Johnson was the only player under par through the first two punishing rounds, taking a four-stroke lead into the third at four-under par.

 

But the world No.1 took his first double-bogey of the week at the par-three second. A bogey at the fourth was followed by three straight bogeys at six, seven and eight to make the turn six-over for the day and two-over for the tournament.

He was one shot off the lead of Koepka and Stenson.

Marc Leishman also had a stinker, the best of the Aussies shooting eight-over to finish tied for 33rd at +11.

Koepka started the day five adrift and opened with a bogey. He got to one-under for the day - even for the tournament - after birdies at two and 11 but gave a stroke back at the 12th.

Stenson was even for the day through 11 after one birdie and one bogey. England's Justin Rose also got to even for the tournament with a chip-in birdie at the third, but he slid back with three straight bogeys at eight, nine and 10.

Henrik Stenson goes into the final day of the US Open with a share of the lead. Picture: Getty Images
Henrik Stenson goes into the final day of the US Open with a share of the lead. Picture: Getty Images

Shinnecock had shown a softer side early Saturday, when Daniel Berger posted a four-under-par 66 to climb the leaderboard.

But the two-time US PGA Tour winner said the course was firming up and getting harder as his round wore on.

"I think it's going to be extremely difficult," said Berger, who was in the clubhouse on three-over-par 213.

"If someone shoots four-under this afternoon it's more like eight-under."

Dustin Johnson’s sparkling opening two rounds unravelled on day 3. Picture: AP
Dustin Johnson’s sparkling opening two rounds unravelled on day 3. Picture: AP

Berger rolled in birdie putts of 30 feet, 23 feet and 26 feet, finishing with six birdies and flirting with a 65 that would have been the best ever US Open round at Shinnecock.

But Berger said pin placements near the borders of the sloping greens were particularly challenging.

"You hit one by, three feet past the hole and it's going 40 yards away from the green," he said.