The player with a bad left wrist, playing in the event that most puts that wrist in danger - at a U.S. Open with high, thick, punishing rough - needed to navigate that rough to get home with a pivotal par at 14.
At the last US Open here, Shinnecock Hills gained notoriety for slick greens that had to be watered between groups.
The USGA admitted Saturday it had lost a handle on the course.
Finau finished the third round hoping he could enter Sunday within six strokes of the lead; more than that would be too far back, he figured. "We would say that it was a very tough test, and really too tough this afternoon". Meanwhile, Johnson missed a four-footer for par, unable to close the gap. Finau strung together three consecutive bogeys at Nos. "Seven-over usually is a awful score, but with the greens the way they got this afternoon - they were very, very hard". Justin Rose is one shot back at 4-over.
Why Koepka didn't become a major star in golf, a fan favorite, the guy with big crowds following him, after he won the U.S. Open in 2017 baffled me.
"I've never seen - I'm going to answer it diplomatically because I've never seen a golf course change that quickly", he said.
Until the ball is regulated back to a reasonable level (does anyone think the game needs people hitting the ball 30 yards longer than Norman or Jack Nicklaus?) and the USGA continue to obsess with par we will continue to see great courses with dimensions completely distorted in an attempt to identify the best players. His approach from the fairway bounced near the pin and rolled 17 feet past.
Poulter who carded a six-over par round of 76 was one of the many golfers who were upset at the conditions the USGA had set for Shinnecock Hills, making low scoring incredibly hard to come by. He played in the afternoon wind tunnel Thursday, the spitting morning rain Friday and then the baked-out moonscape late Saturday.
Finau soon matched Berger's 66. In fact, the only other round under par was a 68 by Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Johnson is sitting on a fabulous 18 PGA Tour wins. Not a single player could break par, though there were 13 major champions in the field, and balls slid around on discolored greens like they were on glass. Yes, with mistakes I made, some of this could have been avoided.
Playing partner Andrew Johnston called it a "moment of madness" but Mickelson, a five-time major champion celebrating his 48th birthday on Saturday, insisted it wasn't just a display of petulance.
"To get that up and down was absolutely massive", caddie Elliott said. "Obviously with your boy Brooks, now we all know who he is dating, especially me", Buck said.
"Watching them down the stretch, you've got nothing but respect for how well Brooks did, just to hole the putts at the right time", said Fleetwood, who could only watch and wait.
'Not often you walk off the 18th feeling a smidgeon of disappointment after a 63, is it?' he said cheerfully.