US OPEN leader Matthew Wolff – the man with the crazy swing – is primed to become the youngest Major winner since Tiger Woods.
American Wolff, who will be 21 years, five months and six days old in Sunday’s final round, holds a two shot lead at Winged Foot.
Woods, a 15-time Major champion, was 21 years, three months and 14 days when he won the 1997 Masters.
But lurking behind Wolff is a stellar cast including second placed Bryson DeChambeau, former Open champion Loius Oosthuizen and Rory McIlroy.
Wolff fired a stunning third-round five-under 65 – the lowest of the day by two shots – at the brutal New York course to have him dreaming of his first victory in a big one.
But he will need to trust his unconventional swing in the most intense pressure to prevail.
Wolff’s weird action starts before he takes the club back, when he presses the grip forward and bends his knees.
Then he picks the club up steeply with his left heel way off the floor.
The downswing is poetry in motion though and the action saw him become one of the top US college players before he claimed his first PGA Tour victory in July last year – just a month after turning pro.
Amazingly, this is only the second Major Wolff has played in.
He finished tied fourth in the last one – last month’s USPGA – after a thrilling final round charge.
Collin Morikawa won that at the ripe old age of 23.
DeChambeau – who eats 6,000 calories a day to fuel his monster hitting – fired a solid 70 to finish two shots behind Wolff on three under – two ahead of 2010 Claret Jug winner Oosthuizen in third.
Behind him is Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, well backed American Xander Schauffele and fellow US star Harris English.
But well within touching distance is four-time Major champ McIlroy – who was in bullish mood about mounting a huge charge.
McIlroy repaired the damage inflicted by his demoralising second round 76 as he summoned up an eight shot improvement in round three to sit on one over.
And the 31-year-old insisted a first Major victory since his 2014 USPGA triumph is a realistic target.
He said: “I’m feeling pretty good that I’ve got a good chance going into the final round. If I go out there tomorrow and shoot another 68, I won’t be too far away
“From watching the early starters I felt the key today was to try to play the first five holes in even par, then in the middle section of the round you could make a couple of birdies, and try to hang on coming in.
“I executed the game plan really well. I relied on my short game when I had to, and made some nice putts. Geez, I think anything under par on this golf course today is a really good score.
“And now I feel like I’m right back in it. I feel for anyone who is within six shots of the lead going into the final round, that’s not a lot on this golf course. I don’t think that’s out of it by any stretch of the imagination.
“Someone gets off to a decent start – hopefully me – maybe one or two under through five and then the leader goes the other way, one or two over through five, and all of a sudden you’re right in the thick of things.
“We’ll see what happens, but I definitely feel like I’ve got a pretty good shot.”
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