Near-identical triple bogeys by Tony Finau and Ludvig Aberg minutes apart derail their US Open hopes


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

Finau began the day two shots back of Aberg, the overnight leader, and both were hanging tough near the top of the leaderboard when they arrived at the 13th, a relatively straightforward par-4 that ranked among the easier holes on the day.

Things went sideways for both of them in a hurry.

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

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

"Obviously, 13 is going to jump out at me as a hole that was the toughest pin in the whole championship, in my opinion," Finau said. "That green is pretty crazy right there where that pin is. Just wrong time to miss a shot."

Finau played the round with Rory McIlroy, whom he's known since they were kids playing in the Junior Ryder Cup. Both were in the mix Saturday as they arrived at the 13th — McIlroy two off the lead and Finau three — and both hit nice approach shots, only to watch their balls spin backward off the diabolical Donald Ross-designed greens and into a collection area.

That is where their paths diverged.

Finau tried to putt up the slope but instead sent his ball sailing across the green and into a bunker on the other side. His shot from the sand went back over the green and almost to the exact same spot in the collection area. By the time he pitched inside 10 feet and missed the ensuing putt, Finau was left with a triple bogey.

"I was looking right at the flag, pulled it a little, came all the way down. From there, I decided to hit a putt from 20 yards off the green. Didn't have a very good lie. Didn't really want to pitch it. Ended up playing ping-pong there," he said.

"Anything can happen on this golf course. I'm just happy with the way I finished. I was able not to give up any more."

McIlroy saw the putter fail his friend from off the green, so he opted to pitch his ball with an iron onto onto the surface. He saved par, wound up shooting 69 and was tied with Matthieu Pavon and Patrick Cantlay, three shots off the lead.

"I love the test that Pinehurst is presenting, and you've got to focus and concentrate on every single shot out there," McIlroy said. "It's what a U.S. Open should be like."

Two groups after Finau and McIlroy, Aberg arrived at the 13th with some momentum from a birdie at the 10th. He was 5 under, two back of playing partner DeChambeau, and plugging along with his typical machine-like consistency.

Then, he proceeded to make the same sort of shambles as Finau on the same hole.

First, the 24-year-old Swede sent his tee shot sailing into the native area left of the fairway. Aberg got his second 25 feet short of the green, but then sent the pitch from there running off the back and into a bunker. His next shot rolled through the green to the same collection area that confounded 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 Saturday.

Two players in contention made two of them.

___

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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Dave Skretta

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