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US Open Golf 2021: Louis Oosthuizen Charges into Share of Lead with Late Eagle

Blake SchusterContributor IJune 20, 2021

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Louis Oosthuizen found an eagle on the par five 18th hole at Torrey Pines and added some chaos to the top of the leaderboard as Saturday at the U.S Open came to a close. The result is a three-way tie for the lead at five-under par between Mackenzie Hughes, Russell Henley and Oosthuizen with a strong field closing in behind them. 

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Eagle at the last propels @Louis57TM into the co-lead. 👏pic.twitter.com/0ryMbzuYrp

Oosthuizen was having a fairly strong round before he teed up on 18, notching one birdie on two bogeys during his front nine, then sinking two more birdies—plus the eagle—to nullify two more bogeys on the back nine. 

The South African has never finished better than second at the U.S. Open and placed third last year. Meanwhile, Henley is looking for his fourth-ever PGA victory and his first major. The 32-year-old American has never finished better than tied for 25th at this tournament. 

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Clutch par save at 18.@RussHenleyGolf stays at -5 for a three-way co-lead.pic.twitter.com/OsJI79Jeh5

Golf Central @GolfCentral

Russell Henley bounces back from bogey to take a two-shot lead on the back nine Saturday at the #USOpen pic.twitter.com/UoJWVgZg9Y

He'll enter Sunday with a chance to win it. With an unusual amount of low scores on Saturday, here's a look at how Moving Day at Torrey Pines played out. 

Saturday U.S. Open Leaderboard

T1. MacKenzie Hughes (-5)

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T1. Louis Oosthuizen (-5)

T1. Russell Henley (-5)

T4. Rory McIlroy (-3)

T4. Bryson DeChambeau (-3)

T6. Scottie Scheffler (-2)

T6. Jon Rahm (-2)

T6. Matthew Wolff (-2)

T9. Dustin Johnson (-1)

T9. Collin Morikawa (-1)

T9. Christiaan Bezuidenhout (-1)

T9. Xander Schauffele (-1)

T9. Kevin Streelman (-1)

Notables: T14. Brooks Koepka (E), T14. Justin Thomas (E), T21. Jordan Spieth (+1), T21. Richard Bland (+1), T45. Gart Woodland (+5), T54. Hideki Matsuyama (+6), T63. Phil Mickelson (+7)

Full leaderboard available via USGA

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

What. A. Shot. 👏 @ChrisBakerGolf holes out for eagle from the fairway bunker. pic.twitter.com/KHD3wsmko8

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

An absolute dart from @JordanSpieth. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/yL5loehWve

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

.@Matthew_Wolff5 is back within 1. 🐦pic.twitter.com/c7tlSqmIs7

Recap

One year after missing the cut at the U.S. Open for the third time in his career, Hughes finds himself sitting atop the leaderboard through 54 holes of play as he walked to the clubhouse. 

He’d soon be joined by Oosthuizen and Henley, but the brief moment as solo leader was no easy accomplishment. 

The 30-year-old Canadian put together an absolutely stunning round of 68, moving up five spots on the day. That meant battling through two bogeys on the front nine to play mistake-free after the turn. An eagle on the par five No. 15 was the unquestionable highlight of the day as Hughes seeks his second-ever tour victory and first ever at a major. 

Rory McIlroy made the most of moving day after two opening rounds in the 70s. The native of Northern Ireland finished with a round of 67 to reach three-under par for the tournament and enter Sunday safely inside the top 10 on the leaderboard. He jumped up 18 spots in the standings on Saturday alone. 

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Rory with the touch!<br><br>He's just 3 back. 👀pic.twitter.com/Vs5J7V90JK

Despite notching just one birdie on the front nine—though without any bogies—McIlroy made the most of the back nine with four birdies and one bogey. He picked up a stroke on each of the final two par fives and didn’t spoil a single par three on the day. 

It was a veteran Saturday from the 32-year-old who is seeking his first U.S. Open title since 2011. He’ll have to contend not only with the leaders ahead of him, but some of the top golfers in the world closing in fast. 

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau vaulted up the leaderboard by posting a 69 on Friday and a 68 on Saturday. Those scores more than made up for an opening round of 73, which had some wondering if DeChambeau would make the cut, let alone content. 

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

-3 today. Just 2 back.<br><br>Defending champ @B_DeChambeau is on the move.pic.twitter.com/2kkzBqprZa

Instead DeChambeau played a perfect round, dropping in three birdies without any bogeys. If he can shoot three-under par again on Sunday, he may find himself as the tournament’s first repeat champion since Brooks Koepka in 2017 and 2018—adding another element to their growing rivalry

The No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson, and the No. 3 golfer, Jon Rahm, both find themselves in contention heading Sunday, but may need some help in front of them. Johnson shot his best round of the week with a 68, while Rahm dropped a shot by shooting a 72. 

Saturday’s hole locations—or more specifically, the flag pin locations—were of little help. 

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

RUDE. 😠pic.twitter.com/Jat7bpiSrh

Multiple players hit otherwise tremendous shots only to watch them rattle off the stick and land in disastrous positions. It happened to McIlroy on the par-five 13th hole, where he scorched his second shot 260 yards out from the middle of the fairway. The shot was tracking well until it hit the pin and bounced to the far edge of the green.

Yet no one was hurt by the pin as much as Sergio Garcia on the same hole. 

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Right back to his feet. 🔄 <br><br>Just cruel. pic.twitter.com/7jWnfIVYUv

After leaving himself a layup from 56 yards out on his second shot, Garcia’s third not only hit the flagstick, but bounced backwards and rolled all the way back to the exact location he’d just hit from. Garcia would take a double bogey on the hole as he finished his third round with a score of 73 for five-over par on the tournament. 

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