Gary Woodland hit a shank and a chunk and both times made par, and he made a birdie from a deep divot in the fairway. Such moments, even on a Sunday NZT, can go a long way towards winning a US Open.
Even better for Woodland was a 2-under 69 — and just two bogeys over 54 holes at Pebble Beach — for a one-shot lead over Justin Rose.
"I worked for this my whole life," Woodland said. "I know what it takes to win. And my game is in a great spot. I'm at a beautiful golf course. I came here to win, and that's what we're going out to do [today]."
He's not alone in that thinking.
Rose was right where he wanted to be after working more short-game magic from bunkers and thick grass and awkward spots around greens that were getting a little firmer and faster, even under another day of thick marine layer that has blanketed Monterey Peninsula all week. He has 34 one-putt greens through 54 holes, the last an up-and-down from the bunker for birdie on the par-5 18th for a 68 that put him in the final group.
"One back gives me the freedom to feel like I've got everything to gain, nothing to lose," said Rose, the 2013 US Open champion at Merion. "I'm not chasing, really. I'm so close to Gary that I have to go out and play my game [today]."
Brooks Koepka thinks he can win because no one has been winning majors like him in the past two years. He played bogey-free for a 68, settling for par when he made a bold attempt to slash a fairway metal around a cypress on the 18th hole. Four shots behind is close enough for Koepka to have a shot at a record that has stood for 114 years as he tries to join Willie Anderson with a third straight US Open title.
"I feel as confident as ever right now," said Koepka, words that carry a little more weight from a player who has won four of his last eight majors.
Standing in the way of all of them is Pebble Beach, a strong enough test that has been missing strong wind, its best defence.
The final hour of the third round gave a glimpse of possibilities, how fortunes can change quickly.
Woodland twice looked as though he was about to lose two shots or more of his lead until chipping in from 35 feet on the par-3 12th hole, and holing a par putt from just over 40 feet on the par-5 14th.
Emotions could be big today for all of them, especially on Father's Day. Woodland's son is about to turn 2. He is home in Florida with his mother, who is a few months away from delivering twins.