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Tommy Fleetwood moves into US Open contention after strong start to final round

The European number one began the day with birdies on the second, third, sixth and seventh.

Tommy Fleetwood enjoyed a strong start to his final round (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Tommy Fleetwood enjoyed a strong start to his final round (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

England’s Tommy Fleetwood surged into contention for a first major title as the 118th US Open headed for a thrilling climax on Sunday.

After admitting they went “too far” with their course set-up for round three, USGA officials had applied “appropriate levels” of water to the greens at Shinnecock Hills on Saturday night and Sunday morning, as well as selecting some more favourable pin positions.

That raised the prospect of more players doing what Tony Finau and Daniel Berger did on Saturday, the pair shooting 66 to move from a tie for 45th into a share of the lead with defending champion Brooks Koepka and world number one Dustin Johnson.

The largest comeback after 36 holes in tournament history is 11 shots by Lou Graham in 1975. Berger and Finau were 11 behind Johnson at halfway.

Fleetwood, who finished fourth behind Koepka at Erin Hills last year, began the day six shots off the lead following a 78 on Saturday but highlighted the better conditions with birdies on the second, third, sixth and seventh.

And although a bogey on the ninth halted his progress, the European number one was just three shots off the pace as the final few groups headed onto the course.

Compatriot Matt Fitzpatrick was also six over par after birdies on the first and fifth, with Masters champion Patrick Reed four over after picking up shots on the opening two holes.

After a nightmare 84 on Saturday, Rickie Fowler had earlier demonstrated what was possible on day four with a five-under-par 65, the lowest score of the week so far.

“That’s the golf course I enjoy playing,” Fowler said. “Obviously pin placements were a lot safer. The pins today will definitely allow for the greens to firm up and get fast, and we’ll see how much they dry out.

“It was nice to get back to swinging it how I was the first two days. I just had a couple mistakes that compounded yesterday, and it didn’t help that the course was playing the toughest it’s played all week.

“I think they did a good job with set up today. I don’t think they’ll have any issues.”

Press Association


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