Finau and Berger profit on crazy day as Justin Rose lurks

US Open

Tony Finau and Daniel Berger made the big moves of the day at the US Open after profiting from the morning conditions to earn a share of the lead.

The duo matched the tournament low of four-under-par 66 at Shinnecock Hills to surge more than 40 places up the leaderboard and sit alongside Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka at three over par.

Defending champion Koepka produced the best round of the leading players, a two-over-par 72, to also leave him at three over, while Justin Rose is just one shot off the lead at four over after a highly impressive and gritty 73.

“On this golf course, it’s patience, it’s commitment, it’s choosing your times to be aggressive,” said Rose. “You just have to play great golf out here.

“You feel like you’re the only one making mistakes. Clearly, you’re not. You always look at the leaderboard and see everyone’s struggling. It’s hard mentally to keep it together.”

As was the case with all of the late starters, World No 1 Johnson really struggled, posting a seven-over-par 77.

That opened the door to both Finau and Berger, who were already in the clubhouse by that stage after taking advantage of the more favourable weather earlier in the day.

Finau – who finished 10th at the Masters despite an ugly ankle injury – said: “I got off to a rough start. I bogeyed the second hole, bogeyed the third hole, a couple over early.

“But I kind of rolled the ship in nicely. I was able to bounce back with a birdie right away on four, and then really got fortunate to make birdie on five.

“There’s two fairways on five. I was aiming at the left one and ended up hitting the right one.”

Berger believes that if he can get close to shooting par in Sunday’s final round, then he is in with a shot of lifting his first major title, on a course that is drawing criticism for its difficulty.

“If you can go shoot another three or four under, even par is going to be a great score,” he said.

Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, was handed a two-shot penalty after deliberately preventing his ball from rolling off the 13th green. Tournament officials could have chosen to disqualify the American, but decided to be lenient.

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