Nearly identical triple bogeys from Tony Finau and Ludvig Aberg within minutes of each other derail their US Open hopes

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — Tony Finau and Ludvig Aberg had their U.S. Open dreams dashed when they ping-ponged their way around the same green about 30 minutes apart Saturday in a third round played in oppressive heat at Pinehurst No. 2.

Finau started the day two shots behind Aberg, the day's leader, and both were holding on near the top of the leaderboard when they got to the 13th, a relatively simple par-4 that ranked among the easiest holes of the day.

Things went wrong for both of them in a hurry.

By the time they finished, everyone was muttering about a triple bogey.

The mortifying mess didn't knock either of them out of the tournament, but it left them with three more shots in Aberg and Finau to catch Bryson DeChambeau on Sunday. He shot a 3-under 67 in the third round to take the lead at 7 under, leaving Aberg five behind after his 73 and Finau another shot back after his round of 72.

“Obviously the 13th is going to stand out to me as the hole that was the toughest hole of the entire championship, in my opinion,” Finau said. “That green is pretty crazy where that pin is. It's just a bad time to miss a shot.

Finau played the round with Rory McIlroy, who he has known since they were kids playing in the Junior Ryder Cup. Both were in the mix on Saturday when they got to the 13th – McIlroy two ahead and Finau three – and both hit good approach shots, only to see their balls spin backwards on the evil Donald Ross-designed greens and in a collection area.

This is where their paths diverged.

Finau tried to go uphill but instead sent his ball across the green and into a bunker on the other side. His shot from the sand came back onto the green and almost exactly the same spot in the collection area. By the time he pitched to within 10 feet and missed the ensuing putt, Finau found himself with a triple bogey.

“I was looking directly at the flag, pulled it a little, went all the way down. From there, I decided to sink a putt 20 yards from the green. I didn't lie very well. I didn't really want to throw it. I ended up playing ping pong there,” he said.

“Anything can happen on this golf course. I'm just happy with how I finished. I was able to not give up again.

McIlroy saw the putter miss his friend from the green, so he opted to launch his ball with an iron onto the surface. He saved par, shot 69 and was tied with Matthieu Pavon and Patrick Cantlay, three shots behind the leader.

“I love the test that Pinehurst presents, and you have to concentrate on every shot,” McIlroy said. “This is what a US Open should be like.”

Two groups after Finau and McIlroy, Aberg arrived at the 13th with some momentum thanks to a birdie at the 10th. He was 5 under, two behind his playing partner DeChambeau, and was connecting with his typical machine consistency.

Then he made the same kind of mess as Finau on the same hole.

First, the 24-year-old Swede sent his tee shot into the home zone, to the left of the fairway. Aberg got his second 25 feet short of the green, but then sent the field from there running backwards and into a bunker. His next shot sailed across the green to the same collection area that confused Finau, and a pitch and two putts later, Aberg also had a triple bogey.

There were four scores of double bogey or worse on the 13th hole during the third round on Saturday.

Two players competing made it two.


AP Golf:

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