Alexander: Matthew Wolff leads U.S. Open as part of golf’s youth movement

The kids are coming.

A month earlier, when 23-year-old La Cañada High grad Collin Morikawa won the PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco, a fellow young golfer with Southern The golden state roots ended up linked for 4th in his initial major.

Matthew Wolff, 21, was a celebrity at Westlake High and also an even larger celebrity at Oklahoma State, with an unusual swing and lots of confidence.

Today, he has the 54-hole lead in the UNITED STATE Open.

“I really feel comfy with every part of my video game,” he said Saturday from Mamaroneck, N.Y., after firing a 65 at Winged Foot to go 5-under for the event as well as two shots in advance of Bryson DeChambeau. “I do not like to avoid points when I’m feeling great, and I’m possibly mosting likely to do the exact same (Sunday).”

Wolff’s swing is unconventional, including a hip shimmy at the beginning as well as something comparable to a baseball player’s toe tap while at the top of his backswing. It drew a great deal of objection from the would-be professionals when he was playing junior golf, as well as a variety of tips from teaching pros that he was doing it all incorrect, yet success has a means of shutting people up.

As well as if he is to come to be the youngest UNITED STATE Open champion given that Bobby Jones in 1923, and also the first to do so in his U.S. Open launching considering that Francis Ouimet in 1913, it may be using the beautiful course. He hit 2 fairways– repeating, 2– in Saturday’s round, and also 12 through 54 openings.

Maybe he’s living right. He had a 66 on Thursday, and an even-par 70 Friday when scores soared.

His only bogey Saturday came on 16 after a tee shot deep into the harsh on the left, yet he still had an 11-footer for par and also missed it. Two holes later, his 4-iron off the tee went 267 backyards but way right, and also somehow it struck in the harsh and recovered into the initial cut. He obtained his method to within 10 feet and also drained it for his sixth birdie of the day.

“I struck a number of excellent tee shots today that were kind of where I was looking and just barely missed out on the fairway, got privileged with my lies,” he stated. “It’s the U.S. Open. You’re mosting likely to hit negative shots around. … … I just informed myself to reduce the damage since I was playing so well, and also I know I remain in such a great place that the most awful thing I can do is attempt to risk it. Possibly on the 18th opening if I’m one down, after that I’ll risk it.”

It’s worth a pointer below that 5-under at Winged Foot, under USGA training course problems, is actually, actually excellent.

“I indicate, he strikes it actually far,” Xander Schauffele said Saturday. “He hits it actually high. He’s not terrified. And also, yeah, he doesn’t care. It’s not unexpected that he played (this well). I had fun with him the last round of the PGA Championship as well as he destroyed that location, as well (an additional 5-under 65), and also it was playing challenging there on the last day.”

Bear in mind, also, that he’s still the reigning NCAA champion, considering that no national champion competition has actually been held given that he won it in 2019 as an Oklahoma State sophomore. He turned professional soon thereafter and won his preliminary PGA Trip event in simply his third try, the 3M Open in Minneapolis in July 2019.

He remained in the quest previously this summertime at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, carrying a 3-shot introduce the last day before shooting a 71 to end up three shots back. The guy that caught him that day coincides guy who will certainly be leading the search Sunday; DeChambeau shot, yes, a 65. And also Wolff claimed that experience might even be more important Sunday than that of the competition he won.

“I had a larger lead in Detroit,” he said.

“I believe that’s the largest point, not actually looking ahead. I was type of antsy at the beginning of the (final) round in Detroit. I assume I’m going to go out there as well as just do my thing. It’s golf; anything can happen, specifically at a training course such as this. I know if I keep tranquil as well as not let my emotions obtain the very best of me, I need to have a really excellent chance.”

However …

…”I bet you I’m most likely mosting likely to be a little antsy,” Wolff claimed. “It’s the U.S. Open, as well as I have a lead.”

Wolff claimed he feeds off the emotion of galleries, so the quiet of these tournaments without viewers will not necessarily be a plus. However he did state the residents of the houses behind the 10th and 11th tees supported for him Saturday, so there’s that. Anyway, the silence really did not appear to trouble either Wolff or Morikawa on that particular Sunday in San Francisco last month.

Wolff was asked if this may be coming a little sooner than he anticipated.

“That’s a hard question,” he stated. “I imply, I feel like I’m prepared to triumph here and win a significant. I’ve currently won a PGA Tour occasion and also I knew my game remained in a really good place. I have actually been feeling truly good, actually certain, and with my attitude today exactly how I’m considering the video game is truly excellent.

“It is a major. It’s actually essential, as well as of course, it’s actually early in my occupation, however I feel like I have the game, like I said, to win. Collin won at 23. I’m 21, and I’m not stating that it’s going to take place, but I indicate, I put myself in an actually excellent place.”

As we claimed, the children are coming. You might want to relocate out of the way.

jalexander@scng.com!.?.! @Jim_Alexander on Twitter

Leave a Reply