Asia's hope Kim rues soft conditions as rivals go lower

Kim Si Woo lining up a putt during the US Open third round. The South Korean had six birdies and two bogeys on Saturday.
Kim Si Woo lining up a putt during the US Open third round. The South Korean had six birdies and two bogeys on Saturday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ERIN • Kim Si Woo kept up his steady pace at the US Open on Saturday, posting his third successive sub-par round to remain in the hunt for his first Major.

The 21-year-old, who became the youngest winner of the prestigious Players Championship last month, added a four-under 68 to his opening 69 and second-round 70 for a nine-under 207 total. He was three behind leader Brian Harman at the start of yesterday's final round.

Overnight rain once again softened the long, links-style layout and enabled some players to go very low, which South Korean Kim seemed to feel hurt his chances.

US Ryder Cup standout Patrick Reed fired a 65 to reach 208, and this season's three-time PGA Tour winner Justin Thomas shot a 63 to trail Harman by just one stroke.

"Overnight raining and then course was soft, and no wind today," said Kim. "I think every pin (you) needed to go to the pin. I think it's much easier today, the last two days.

"I don't think it's good for me. Today is too easy, other players may go lower. I'm playing good today, but (I'm) like three behind now."

  • LEADERBOARD 3RD RD (selected; USA unless stated)

  • 204 Brian Harman 67 70 67

    205 Justin Thomas 73 69 63, Brooks Koepka 67 70 68, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 67 70 68

    206 Rickie Fowler 65 73 68 207 Kim Si Woo (Kor) 69 70 68

    208 Patrick Reed 68 75 65, Russell Henley 71 70 67, Charley Hoffman 70 70 68

    209 Bill Haas 72 68 69, Brendan Steele 71 69 69, Brandt Snedeker 70 69 70

    210 J.B. Holmes 69 69 72, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 74 65 71, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 69 72 69

With no rain and more wind expected yesterday, Erin Hills might have finally shown its teeth.

"Just trying to play my golf tomorrow and that's it. Just aggressive," said Kim. "Today I was a little nervous and then (felt) pressure. But the back nine is much better, getting better tomorrow, too."

Hideki Matsuyama, the other serious contender to become the first Asian man to win the US Open, failed to take full advantage of the favourable conditions.

The 25-year-old Japanese registered a 71 to stand at 210.

The world No. 4 had vaulted up the leaderboard on Friday with a second-round 65.

China's Li Haotong, 21, the first player from China to make the cut at a Major, bombed out of contention with an 82.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2017, with the headline 'Asia's hope Kim rues soft conditions as rivals go lower'. Print Edition | Subscribe