Johnson's U.S. Open hopes fade on back nine

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"That was miserable", Johnson grumbled. It's really unfortunate, because in my opinion, some of the best land and certainly one of the best venues in all of golf, especially in this county, is Shinnecock Hills. The course on Long Island has humbled some of the world's best players, as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia, John Rahm and Tiger Woods all missed the weeknd cut.

To make matters worse, numerous spectators had quite clearly spent the day taking advantage of the beer tents - to hear them cheering as golf balls trundled off putting surfaces was disappointing to say the least.

"I mean, 7-over usually is a bad score but with the greens the way they got this afternoon, they were very, very hard".

Fleetwood played with Koepka in the final group previous year at Erin Hills.

36-hole leaders who shoot 77 don't continue to hold a share of top spot heading to Sunday. It was definitely more receptive this morning than yesterday, that's for sure.

Dustin Johnson dominated Shinnecock Hills the first two days of the U.S. Open by avoiding big mistakes and taking advantage of rare opportunities to score. "Having said that, this golf course will get slowed down tonight".

Indeed, the difference between the morning and afternoon conditions were stark, as the moisture got sucked out of the greens by a warm sun and consistent 20-mph wind.

And yet, DJ was nearly flawlessly ideal in the first two rounds with his tournament-leading 69-67.

That set the stage for a final round in which 15 players were separated by four shots. Berger struck an ominous tone after signing his card.

"Look, I don't mean disrespect to anybody", he said. "Whether I do or not I'm happy with the day".

Andy Kwon of New York City and Southampton attended on Sunday with his three children, Nathan, 7, Hazel, 6, and 18-month-old James.

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Had those 66s been shot in the afternoon?

"The golf course transformed today from hole 1 to hole 18", said Jim Furyk, another former Open victor.

The strong June sunshine will also mean that anyone at Shinnecock Hills will need sunscreen and sunglasses.

Overnight leader Johnson was less concerned about the pin positions though felt there was inconsistency in the speed of the greens.

The USGA has done what it can to make amends ahead of Sunday's final round.

Daniel Berger and Tony Finau both began Saturday 11 shots and 44 places on the leaderboard behind Johnson and both posted two bogey/six birdie rounds to rocket up the standings. "It's just hard. It's brutal". The players made preparations to play on a course like this. His playing partner, Scott Piercy, fared worse with a 79.

The USGA had the hoses out after the final pairing most of the evening, watering the greens in an attempt to lessen the scorching and preserve some of the grass.

The astonishing moment occurred after the five-times major champion missed the hole with a short downhill putt, and his ball kept trickling and trickling down the slope. "It's not gonna make the ball get in the hole any faster".

"I felt like I played pretty well", he said. Regardless, it was not a fair test of golf. "You don't care much for them for 4 hours".

Johnson is trying to become only the 16th golfer to win the U.S. Open at least twice in their career, following his triumph at Oakmont Country Club during the 116th U.S. Open in 2016.